Turkey’s Erdoğan accuses news anchor of inciting protests

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blasted Fox TV news anchor Fatih Portakal on Monday for a second time for saying last week that it was not possible to hold a peaceful protest in Turkey for fear of the government, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

“Some person is out calling people onto the streets. Know your place and if you don’t know your place, then the people of this country will,” Erdoğan said, in reference to Portakal.

Portakal last week said that people are afraid to take the streets in protest, while criticising Ankara’s response to the ongoing yellow vest protests in France as being hypocritical.

“Do you think we can do it? How many people will be able to take the streets without fear? For the sake of God, can you tell me how many people would demonstrate? They are trying to discourage social opposition and keep it under pressure. It is a most natural right, but cannot be exercised. Whether it’s France or Turkey, it doesn’t really matter all that much,‘’ Portakal said on air.

Erdoğan has accused French police of using excessive violence against yellow vests protesters, who are in their fifth week of demonstrations that began as protests against a rise in fuel taxes, but now address other issues, including education reform.

The Turkish president has said the yellow vests protest movement reveals Europe’s failure in democracy, human rights and freedom.

Portakal’s statements have drawn criticism from pro-government circles and one group of people has filed a legal complaint against him.

Ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik has said he does not see calls to protest in Turkey as innocent while government ally and leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli last week said that anyone in Turkey that emulated the yellow vest protests in France and other European countries would pay a heavy price.

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