Ex-EU Minister Bağış raises eyebrows with ‘necrophiles’ tweet during Berkin Elvan’s funeral

Ex-EU Minister Bağış raises eyebrows with ‘necrophiles’ tweet during Berkin Elvan’s funeral

Ex-EU Minister Bağış raises eyebrows with ‘necrophiles’ tweet during Berkin Elvan’s funeral

The outgoing EU minister is among the most active EU officials on Twitter. DAILY NEWS photo

A Twitter post from former EU Minister Egemen Bağış sparked fury as he compared the opponents of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to “necrophiles who are targeting the [Kurdish] peace process” at the same time as Berkin Elvan’s funeral was proceeding March 12.

“Our people will give the adequate answer to the necrophiles who are disturbed of the end of terrorism and our brotherhood and target the peace process on March 30,” Bağış tweeted in his hometown of Siirt, where he was accompanying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a rally ahead of the upcoming March 30 local elections.

Bağış eventually erased the tweet and made a public statement on March 13, claiming that the words did not target the hundreds of thousands who attended Elvan’s funeral or the many more who watched the procession on television.

“The message has nothing to do with those who participated at Berkin Elvan funeral and shared the common pain of our country,” Bağış told Anadolu Agency, denouncing an attempt “to lynch his reputation.”


Bağış posted his message at 1:55 p.m. as
mourners were walking to the Şişli Mosque
during Berkin Elvan's funeral procession
on March 12.

However, his message has been widely interpreted as inopportune as thousands had gathered in Istanbul for the funeral procession of the 15-year-old who died after spending 269 days in coma for an injury he sustained after the impact of a tear-gas canister, and many social media users who expressed tributes for Elvan felt targeted.

Many prominent journalists publically expressed their outrage at Bağış. “He thinks that even the death of a 15-year-old child can become a political tool. That’s how his mind works. We have to comfort him. You will have 60 percent of the votes, relax brother,” Hakan said during his talk-show program on CNNTürk March 12.

“Come and govern Turkey, even for a hundred years if you want, but have some scruples,” he added.

Fellow anchor Enver Aysever mentioned the message as he was interviewing Elvan’s father, Sami Elvan. “Bağış, if you have the slightest bit of conscience, send another tweet and apologize,” Aysever said.

But Bağış instead accused “troublemaking provocateurs” of twisting what he wrote. “Those troublemaking provocateurs who try to twist my Twitter message which criticized the sick people who are against the peace process will not succeed,” he wrote in a subsequent Twitter message.

Government officials accused Gezi Park protesters last summer of attempting to disrupt the ongoing Kurdish peace process, which was launched at the beginning of 2013. Erdoğan voiced the same accusations against the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whom he blames for orchestrating the graft probe that seriously damaged the government’s reputation.

The outgoing EU minister has also in the past sparked controversy with some of his statements. He was replaced late December after he was implicated in a graft probe.