Turkish governor’s insult against protester sends shockwaves through politics

Turkish governor’s insult against protester sends shockwaves through politics

Turkish governor’s insult against protester sends shockwaves through politics

Adana Governor Hüseyin Avni Coş has admitted that he called a protester 'gavat,' which means pimp in Turkish. AA photo

A senior official’s use of profanity against a protester has sparked a strong reaction from all opposition parties, prompting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to robustly defend to the Adana governor, while also describing what he did as “inappropriate.”

After initially denying the claims, Adana Governor Hüseyin Avni Coş has admitted that he called a protester “gavat,” which means “pimp,” in response to a demonstration against him by a group of people on Nov. 10. He said the reaction followed a “severe provocation.”

Coş received a storm of criticism from both ruling and opposition parties, after engaging in a row with a group protesting his support for the prime minister’s remarks on university students’ co-ed housing.

Prime Minister Erdoğan addressed the issue on Nov. 12. “Let me say very clearly. I don’t find our friend’s manner appropriate. However, why don’t the media also criticize the manners displayed against our friend?” he said.

Erdoğan stressed that Coş was faced with “insults” such as “government, resign,” and “God damn you.” “He is also a human being. He did something like this. Of course, I don’t find that expression appropriate. That’s why I’ve given the required order to the Interior Ministry. They will make the necessary investigation. But no offense, we will not let our governors be easily sacrificed by these kinds of a lot of provocative actions,” he added.

However, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu strongly condemned Coş, who he described as actually “a very suitable official to work with for this government.”

“When the state’s language becomes abusive, then the governor’s language also becomes abusive,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an address to parliamentary group of his party on Nov. 12. “In my opinion, you should dismiss Bülent Arınç from his post and replace him with this governor and make him the government spokesperson,” he added, referring to a recent rift between Erdoğan and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who is also the spokesperson for the government.

“Those who are corrupted and who swear at people are getting promoted. By this way, the entire world will learn about the true face of the AKP [the ruling Justice and Development Party],” the CHP leader said, adding that Coş was acting as “the governor of the AKP,” but not as “the governor of the state.”

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also touched upon relations of governors with the government and with the people, stressing that governors were working as if they were AKP officials.

“The AKP governor has been terrorizing Adana like an insane person. Prime Minister Erdoğan’s government should apologize to the people of Adana and do what is necessary,” Bahçeli told his party’s deputies on Nov. 12.

“As the prime minister raises the bar of insults, those bureaucrats who out-Herod him have maximized pressure on the citizens. A revenge mentality, which can only be seen in the Ba’ath regime and invasion forces, has lost all its sensitivity. But the officials who advocate the government will pay dearly when the AKP loses its post. Let’s see what Erdoğan, whom they now obey like slaves, will do for them then,” he added.

The co-chair of the newly-founded People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP), Ertuğrul Kürkçü, also joined in the bashing of Coş, recalling that the Adana governor had recently voiced support for Erdoğan’s condemnation of co-ed housing by saying that for him, “the words of the prime minister are orders.”

“We are warning those like Coş who proclaimed duties for themselves out of this [Erdoğan’s stance on co-ed housing]. You may find those words as befitting yourself, but when you insult a citizen of ours we return [the insults]. We are returning them, you are whatever you say,” Kürkçü said.