Erdoğan slams CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu over Rabia sign
ANKARAPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has blasted main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over his criticism of Erdoğan’s use of the “Rabia” four-finger hand gesture, which has become popular among Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers around the world.
“The individual leading the main opposition party in Turkey was very jealous of my gesture. He says it is ‘a symbol of a terrorist organization.’ You should better explain the meaning of it: This gesture contains the meaning: ‘One nation, one flag, one homeland and one state,’” Erdoğan said on June 7.
“I wonder if you long for multiple nations rather one nation in this country? Is that why you are uncomfortable?” he added.
His comments came after Kılıçdaroğlu criticized Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government over its support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
“The AKP is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. The leader of the AKP was the first [to do that]. This is very dangerous. They should immediately cease their support. The AKP should quit making the Rabia hand gesture,” the CHP leader said on June 7.
“Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all regard the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, but [Erdoğan] makes this gesture the AKP’s symbol. It is neither local nor national. You [Erdoğan] have brought the four-fingered gesture of a terrorist organization and made it into a symbol,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The gesture was named after Rabia Square in Cairo, which was the site of a brutal crackdown on mass protests against the coup d’etat that overthrew former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was imprisoned for a mass jail break during the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak and sentenced to life for spying on behalf of the Palestinian group Hamas.
Erdoğan had previously defended the Rabia gesture, saying: “The Rabia gesture emerged after Morsi was imprisoned. I use the gesture, but to say one nation, one flag, one country and one state. At the same time it means Esma,” he said, referring to an 18-year-old girl who was killed in Rabia Square.
Speaking on June 7, Erdoğan accused the main opposition leader of himself being “hand-in-hand with terrorists.”
“Instead of one flag, you are hand-in-hand with those terrorists that were once lawmakers but are now in jail. You walked through İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the Gezi protests. Are you commemorating the Gezi protests, in which two of our police officers were martyred?” he said.
“We have one flag. But you have kept [the terrorists’] flag flying. You have demonstrated in support of them. With what courage can you now say the Rabia gesture is a symbol of a terrorist organization,” he added.
“We acknowledge no other state than the Republic of Turkey. If there is a state that you know, you should go there,” Erdoğan said.