Kilicdaroglu under fire after accidental misstep on prayer rug

Kilicdaroglu under fire after accidental misstep on prayer rug
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A photo of opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu standing on a prayer rug with shoes on went viral on social media, drawing criticism from the ruling bloc and pro-government media despite apology by Kilicdaroglu

A photo that went viral on social media Friday showing joint opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu with his shoes on on a prayer rug drew reactions. Leading representatives of the ruling bloc and pro-government media took the opportunity to discredit Kilicdaroglu, claiming that this was a sign that he did not respect Muslims and Islam.

"I am sorry, I am very sorry that I didn't notice the prayer rug," Kilicdaroglu said.

"I do not wish to harm anyone in the world, especially my people. I leave those who exploit and use propaganda means to the conscience of our people," he said.

AKP (Justice and Development Party) Deputy Chairman Hamza Dag tweeted on Friday, "The place you stepped on with your shoes is a prayer rug used by Muslims for prostration," expressing his reaction to Kilicdaroglu.

The CHP also made a statement saying, "The prayer rug on the floor went unnoticed due to the crowd during the photo shoot and the rush of those who wanted to take pictures."

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag also criticized Kilicdaroglu on Saturday, saying, "It is disrespectful for Kilicdaroglu to step on the prayer rug with his shoes. It is a lack of respect."

"Someone is calling him 'Mujahid Kilicdaroglu.' We witnessed a Mujahid stepping on a prayer rug with his shoes," he said.

Former Justice Minister Ismail Muftuoğlu, who was with Kilicdaroglu when the photo was taken, said in a statement on Twitter that souvenir photos were taken in a crowded environment and that the crowd led to carelessness.

"Unjust criticism of Kilicdaroglu is far from common sense and is unfair. Politics conducted in such a merciless, understandingless, and accusing manner has exhausted us all," he said.