‘Pervert’ debate rocks politics amid harsh words

‘Pervert’ debate rocks politics amid harsh words

‘Pervert’ debate rocks politics amid harsh words

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The heat in the debate over main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s criticism against Turkey’s family minister has been turned up, with Kılıçdaroğlu firing back at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his use of the word “pervert.”

“He called me a ‘pervert,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said on a visit to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) on April 7, referring to Erdoğan’s harsh wording against him a day earlier.

“Isn’t it perversion to say, ‘I sit in Dolmabahçe [Palace in Istanbul] and look at the women and girls on the ferries that are coming from Kadıköy?’ This is perversion. The person who said this and who confessed this is Erdoğan,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to Erdoğan’s statements on June 2, 2013, on a TV program.

“I see the state the people coming from Kadıköy are in,” Erdoğan had said, while answering a question about people who interfered with a couple because they were “immorally” hugging each other in the metro. “Actually, these states don’t correspond to my own values. But despite that, I say, ‘That person is a member of my society. I can’t mess with that person’s clothes or life’ and I show respect to that person.”

 “Is it your job to sit at Dolmabahçe and look at the girls and women?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked. 

“I have a better example when we come to political perversion. This person promised to stay impartial. What is political perversion? It is the person who takes an oath in parliament and then throws his honor and pride in the dustbin by breaking the oath. What’s the name of this if it’s not political perversion?” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that Erdoğan was the “source of perversion.”

The fresh debate started when Kılıçdaroğlu criticized Family Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu, over recent sexual abuse cases in private education institutes on April 5. 

“The governor and the education minister don’t talk [about the cases]. The family minister is already in the position of lying before someone else, so she doesn’t talk either,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, receiving a strong wave of criticism from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

Erdoğan, on his side, described Kılıçdaroğlu as a “political pervert” on April 6.

Kılıçdaroğlu denied making a sexist remark and said he was referring to a remark in an illegal recording of a minister allegedly speaking about protecting Reza Zarrab, the Iranian-Turkish businessman who was involved in a graft case in December 2013 before it was dropped. Zarrab was arrested last month in the U.S. on allegations of fraud and breaking the Washington embargo on Tehran.

Ramazanoğlu filed a claim for compensation for mental anguish worth 50,000 Turkish liras against Kılıçdaroğlu for the words he used, stating that he “violated her personal rights.”

Parliament decided on March 24 to establish an inquiry commission to conduct an in-depth probe into the alleged sexual abuse of children, after news reports that eight male students had been raped by their teacher at an Ensar Foundation branch in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman. A public prosecutor demanded 600 years in prison for the suspected teacher.