Critics attacking government with ‘infidel sword,’ says Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday used a religious and ethnic slur describing non-Muslims while condemning critics of his government.

Erdoğan said he was saddened by Turkish citizens, who “brandish the sword of the infidel (gevur) in the name of opposition,’’ against the government, T24 news site reported.

The Turkish president made the remarks at a ceremony welcoming the women’s and youth branches of the Union of International Democrats (UID), where he covered an array of subjects, including Islamophobia and Turkey’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Erdoğan also addressed the leaders of foreign nations.

He said leaders who are failing at foreign policy and politicians who find themselves in domestic policy binds are attacking himself and Muslims, in a bid to ‘’camouflage’’ their own condition.

Erdoğan’s remarks follow a diplomatic scandal earlier this week that saw European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen left without a chair during a meeting with Erdoğan. 

The incident, referred to as  “sofagate” online, has sparked accusations over Ankara’s attitude to women and the EU, on the heels of Erdoğan’s decision to withdraw Turkey from a European treaty aimed at protecting women against violence.

“We are aware of how individuals, who are the product of a project, have been pushed forward to turn Turkey away from its main issues, campaigns and goals,’’ Erdoğan said.