Naharnet

Ankara Mayor in Sexist Diatribe against U.S. Official

The maverick mayor of Ankara, a close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Wednesday fired off an extraordinary anti-U.S. diatribe on Twitter over the Baltimore rioting, telling the U.S. State Department spokeswoman to "come on blonde answer now."

"Come on blonde, answer now!" Melih Gokcek wrote in English as well as Turkish, sharing an image from the riots in Baltimore with a picture of U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

He added a caption that read: "Where are you stupid blonde, who accused Turkish police of using disproportionate force?"

Gokcek was referring to a report on a pro-government news website, which criticized Harf for being "now silent" in the face of the Baltimore rioting despite repeated criticism of Turkey during the anti-government Gezi Park protests in 2013.

"The blonde girl, according to you, the (Turkish) government's reactions during Gezi were worrisome, but when it comes to your (country) it is normal to declare a curfew?" Gokcek asked, referring to the curfew order in Baltimore on Wednesday. 

In separate tweets, Gokcek lashed out at CNN television and the Economist weekly for the same reason, adding: "As you sow so you shall reap."

In another tweet, Gokcek criticized the Turkish media for their limited coverage of the riots in Baltimore and said: "Shame on you! They are afraid of their American masters." 

The 2013 protests in Turkey started as a relatively small environmentalist movement to save Istanbul's Gezi Park, but evolved into a nationwide wave of protests against the perceived authoritarian tendencies of Erdogan, then prime minister. 

Erdogan's government was at the time widely criticized abroad for its handling of the crisis. 

Pro-government Turkish news outlets quickly drew parallels between police action in protests in Turkey, and Baltimore, where clashes erupted on Monday after the funeral of a black man who died in police custody. 

The Gezi protests as well as the foreign media's coverage of the unrest are recurring themes in Gokcek's often provocative tweets. 

Gokcek, who has been mayor of Ankara since 1994, is one of the most controversial and colorful members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The mayor, nicknamed "Mad Melih" by his detractors, was ridiculed this month after erecting a massive statue of a "Transformers" style robot in the center of Ankara to promote a new theme park.

Source: Agence France Presse


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