Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has criticized the U.S. embassy after the embassy posted a picture of Nihat Erim, a former prime minister of a technocratic government formed after the 1971 coup, on the embassy’s official Twitter account, causing outrage among social media users.
“I cannot find any relation to any messages of this post,” Yıldırım said Jan. 6. “He [the ambassador] is behaving in a silly fashion before he leaves,” Yıldırım said.
“How did he think about that, we should ask him,” he said referring to U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass.
On Jan. 5, the U.S. embassy posted a picture of Erim along with former U.S. President Richard Nixon in a meeting on March 19, 1972, a year after a coup d’état in Turkey.
Serving almost a year in a technocrat government following the coup in 1971, Erim was assassinated months before the Sep. 12, 1980, coup d’état in an incident considered as an important milestone in the path toward the coup.
Following the embassy’s post, social media users started a debate, arguing that the embassy wanted to give a covert message by sharing a picture of an assassinated minister of a technocrat government formed after a coup.
Erim is known for his quote, “if necessary, democracy should be covered with a blanket.”
‘US embassy aims to underline mutual friendship’
After the criticisms from social media users, the U.S. embassy said the embassy had been posting photographs of the joint meetings of Turkish and American
officials and politicians from the archives under the hashtag #tbt and #TürkAmerikanDostluğu [Turkish-American Friendship] since last December and had displayed no underlying intention in posting the former PM.
“These photographs found in our archives show multi-dimensional, deep and historical connections between the United States and Turkey,” an official from the embassy told the Hürriyet Daily News
on Jan. 5, adding that the pictures of former U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt, as well as the former Turkish presidents İsmet İnönü and Celal Bayar, were also posted with the same hashtags.
“There are no other intentions or other issues emphasized,” the source added. “On the other hand, it is necessary to question the purpose of those who try to find a hidden meaning behind the publication of photographs in the archives.”