Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said those asking him to drink some beer or listen to prominent German composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with the hope that his style of governing the country will be better are engaging in utter fascism.
The president’s remarks came at a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Tuesday. Erdoğan was responding to recent remarks from famous Turkish actor Rutkay Aziz and journalist Yılmaz Özdil.
During a TV program on opposition TV station Halk TV, Özdil said: “I am saying this with all sincerity. If Erdoğan had drunk a [bottle] of beer, there would be a better Turkey today.”
Erdoğan, an Islamist, hates the use of alcohol, which is banned in Islam, and has on many occasions attacked people who drink alcoholic beverages.
Özdil said if Erdoğan had drunk beer, he would see drinking beer is not as bad as he thinks.
As for Aziz, the actor complained about pressure on Erdoğan critics and some critical artists in Turkey during a recent interview with the Posta daily and said: “He [Erdoğan] should listen to Mozart, [German composer Ludwig van] Beethoven. Perhaps, doing this would be helpful [for him].”
Erdoğan, without mentioning Aziz and Özdil by name, said, “Forcing the president of this country, who has a known background and stance, to drink beer, listen to Mozart is utter fascism.”
Aziz responded to Erdoğan’s remarks later in the day during a phone call to Artı TV and said it looks like Erdoğan does not actually know what fascism means.
“Am I being the fascist in this case or is it Mozart?” he asked.