Question on PM aide who kicked protester leaves minister speechless
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Union of Turkish Notaries. AA PhotoTurkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ was rendered speechless on June 6, after facing a question comparing an earlier attack against him with a recent attack on a protester by a prime ministerial aide.
“You had said you would be closely following developments after the attempted punch attack against you during ceremonies in Hacıbektaş. Will you also be following the kick delivered by the prime minister’s advisor while in Soma?” daily Zaman quoted a reporter as asking, after Bozdağ delivered a speech at a meeting of the Union of Turkish Notaries.
Apparently puzzled by the question, the justice minister was unable to respond and simply moved on to the next question, Zaman reported.
Back in August 2013, Bozdağ was hit in the chest during a ceremony to commemorate revered Alevi-Bektaşi mystic Hacı Bektaş Veli in the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir. The attacker was released after testifying in court, which was harshly criticized by Bozdağ.
“Decisions like these don’t rehabilitate attackers. Instead, they provide strength and encouragement to all attackers,” he had said at the time.
On May 14, only a day after the disastrous coal mine disaster that killed 301 workers in Soma in the western province of Manisa, prime ministerial aide Yusuf Yerkel was photographed kicking a grieving protester, during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s controversial visit to the disaster-struck town.
Yerkel was photographed attacking the man, who was already being restrained on the ground, during anti-government demonstrations after the accident.
After the incident, he went on sick leave, after being diagnosed with soft tissue trauma in the leg that he used to kick the protester.