A passenger on a public bus in İstanbul who claimed to be a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened a group of “no” leaning voters in an upcoming referendum in Turkey, saying they will be put to the sword since the Ottoman Empire will be revived.
According to a video that went viral on social media early Thursday, a brawl took place between a pro-Erdoğan passenger and other riders, apparently after a war of words on the referendum as the pro-Erdoğan passenger told the others that they would be finished off after the referendum.
Calling the group “looters,” çapulcu in Turkish, as Erdoğan used to call Gezi Park protesters in 2013, the passenger said he would give up his life for Erdoğan.
The video also shows the pro-Erdoğan passenger trying to attack the others, after which they threw him off the bus.
In a previous statement, Erdoğan as well as Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım accused the potential naysayers in the referendum of taking sides with terrorist organizations.
On Feb 12, Turkish Bureau Union (Türk Büro Sen) Chairman Fahrettin Yokuş, who called on people to vote “no” in referendum, was the target of gunshots in Ankara.
On Feb. 16, two members of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) were verbally and physically assaulted while campaigning from door to door in İzmir. A man known only by the initials A.B., who said he was from a local branch of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), accused the CHP members of trying to “undermine the state” while his son O.B. hit the two women in the back.
Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on a constitutional reform package that will bring an executive presidency to Turkey.