Minister under fire for using a child for government propaganda

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Minister for Environment and Urbanization Mehmet Özhaseki has attracted criticism for posing for a photo with a child who was made to hold a controversial banner during the minister’s visit to the Black Sea province of Sinop on Sunday.

The banner held by a boy reads: “They said they would take down the government, you can’t even take down my pants.”

In a show of approval of the message on the banner, Özhaseki is seen in the photos holding the boy’s cheeks with a smiling face while the boy is holding the banner.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Barış Yarkadaş criticized the minister in a message from his Twitter account on Sunday.

“Don’t spread your dirty character to the children. Your level of [decency] goes through the floor. Don’t abuse children for your dirty motives,” Yarkadaş wrote.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ziya Pir, who shared the controversial photos of the minister with the boy in Sinop from his Twitter account on Sunday, wrote: “This is called pedophilia.”

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