Images of Turkish Official Kicking Protester Fuel Anger Online


Yusuf Yerkel, an aide to Turkey’s prime minister, was photographed kicking a man during protests on Wednesday in the city of Soma.Credit Depo Photos/European Pressphoto Agency

Last Updated, Saturday, 9:25 a.m. | One day after Turkey’s prime minister was jeered during a visit to the mining town of Soma, where at least 282 workers were killed this week in an accident, one of his senior advisers was forced to admit that he had kicked a protester being restrained by the police.


Turkish bloggers were enraged by images of Mr. Yerkel, the deputy chief of Turkey’s cabinet, kicking a protester during the prime minister’s visit to the scene of a mine disaster on Wednesday.Credit Depo Photos/European Pressphoto Agency

The adviser, Yusuf Yerkel, acknowledged in an interview with the BBC’s Turkish-language service that he had been involved in the scuffle on Wednesday in the mining town of Soma, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was booed and called a “killer” during an ill-fated attempt to show sympathy with the families of the dead.

Mr. Yerkel, the deputy chief of Mr. Erdogan’s cabinet and a former student at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, was forced to address the incident after photographs and video of the kick were shared widely on social networks, where they fueled anger at the government’s response to the tragedy.

According to the Turkish journalist Ilhan Tanir, who blogs as @WashingtonPoint, Mr. Yerkel said in a brief statement issued on Thursday that he regretted losing his cool but blamed the protester for provoking him to violence.

The behavior of senior officials remained under the social media microscope on Thursday, the BBC correspondent Zeynep Erdim reported on Twitter, as President Abdullah Gul was heckled by angry…

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