Turkey’s far-right leader warns ‘yellow vest enthusiasts’ in Turkey

Anyone in Turkey that emulates the yellow vest protests in France and other European countries will pay a heavy price, the leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said in a written statement on Wednesday, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the MHP and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ally, said those who are planning protests that resemble Gezi Park, following the local elections to be held next year on Mar. 31, would regret it.

The Gezi Park protests, which started as a peaceful sit-in to protect a green space in Istanbul in 2013, later turned into the biggest anti-government demonstrations across the nation since Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002.

The MHP  leader stressed that those provoking people on television by calling them to take to the streets would also bear the consequences of their words.

“If there is someone that wants to emulate the terror of the ongoing yellow vest protests  in all France and has spread to other European countries, I want to express beforehand that they will pay a high price. Those who wear yellow vests should risk being buried without a shroud. This issue is not a joke,” Anadolu quoted Bahçeli as saying.

Fatih Portakal, news anchor of the Fox TV this week stressed it was impossible to organise peaceful protests in Turkey, as it is the case in France over the last two weeks.

“Peaceful protests can not take place in Turkey, come on, let’s protest the price hikes with a peaceful protests. Let’s protest the price hikes for natural gas, can we do it? How many people will risk to take on the streets out of fear, out of concern for being beaten, etc.,” Portakal said.

A group of people later filed a complaint against Portakal for his statements.

AKP’s spokesperson Ömer Çelik today told reporters that one should differentiate between social demand and vandalism, when asked about Portakal’s comments.

“We do not see those calls as innocent, we condemn them,” Çelik said.

The “Gilet Jaunes,” or “Yellow Vests,” movement, named after the sleeveless jackets worn by French truck drivers, began their ongoing protests on Nov. 17 against French President Emmanuel Macron’s fuel tax hikes.