President Erdoğan says he does not care about being called dictator

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he does not care about being portrayed as a dictator in the Western press in the wake of the latest government crackdown on an opposition newspaper and a pro-Kurdish party in Turkey.

“They [the Western press] will make caricatures of us with pressure in newspapers, but we will not take a step back. They should make no efforts in vain; we know who they are. They call me a dictator, but I don’t care. It goes in one ear, out the other,” Erdoğan said in a speech at Sağlık Bilimleri University in İstanbul on Sunday.

His remarks came in response to a major story in the German Bild newspaper on Saturday that called Erdoğan a dictator. The daily was quoting remarks from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu who gave an interview to the daily.

Turkey attracted widespread criticism last week from the EU and the US due to its crackdown on the Cumhuriyet daily, an opposition newspaper, and the second largest opposition party in the country, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which resulted in the arrest of many journalists and HDP politicians including the party’s co-chairs.

Turkey arrested the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet and eight staff members from the daily on Saturday, while  HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ were arrested along with seven other Kurdish deputies on Friday.

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