May 15, 2014, Thursday/ 10:37:36/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM / ISTANBUL
Yusuf Yerkel, an adviser of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, sparked massive outrage after being photographed while kicking a mourner in Manisa’s Soma on Tuesday in the wake of the previous day’s mining disaster that killed at least 282 people.
Tension rose as the anger in Soma, which went through the worst mining tragedy in Turkey’s history. PM Erdoğan faced boos and calls for his resignation as his bodyguards had allegedly tried to suppress any attempt at protest.
Yerkel, one of Erdoğan’s advisers, was captured delivering an enraged kick at a prone protester who was being held down by two soldiers. Turkish media reported that according to witness accounts, special forces were interrogating the protester after the latter kicked an official car belonging to the convoy of the prime minister. Yerkel, who saw the scene as he was preparing to take a seat in the car assigned to him, ran at the protester, kicking him three or four times.
His act has caused fury on social media, with the picture being shared widely. Yerkel later spoke to BBC Turkish, confirming that he was the one in the picture and that he would soon make a public statement regarding the incident.