Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the people of his hometown of Rize taught an opposition leader who paid a visit there last week a lesson by verbally attacking her, saying she can expect more of the same.
Erdoğan was referring to İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener, who cut her visit last week to Rize’s İkizdere town center short after a pro-government group’s verbal attack. An altercation erupted between İYİ Party members and the group, prompting police to intervene.
“They gave ‘Ms Daughter-in-Law’ a good lesson in Rize. They did what they had to do. This was just the beginning; let’s see what else happens,” Erdoğan said, referring to Akşener, whose husband is from Rize and is thus called a daughter-in-law of the city.
After cutting her visit to downtown İkizdere short, Akşener headed out to the villages to meet with locals protesting a stone quarry in the area operated by the pro-government Cengiz Holding.
The verbal attack on Akşener came shortly after Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) targeted her for comparing him to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The president also filed a lawsuit against her.
“He is the Israeli version of Erdoğan,” said Akşener, referring to Netanyahu, adding that he did not hesitate to target the lives of civilians and children in order to stop his rivals.
“Ms Daughter-in-Law compares me with Netanyahu and goes to my hometown of Rize and got a good lesson there. This is Rize,” Erdoğan said, adding that Akşener should thank God that the residents of Rize didn’t go any further.
In the meantime, a speech made by Akşener in March was circulated again by Turkish social media users who accused Erdoğan of threatening the opposition leader.
In that speech, Akşener says, “Even if I’m killed, even if I’m left all alone, I am a dishonest and disgraceful person if I abandon my [political] struggle.”