Turkey: Minister targets protesters with "PKK" and "LGBT" remarks in Alevi neighborhood
Several protesters were detained on Thursday in a neighborhood of Istanbul after Interior Minister and newly elected deputy Suleyman Soylu targeted them by saying through a loudspeaker that they have "joined hands" with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
İçişleri Bakanı Süleyman Soylu'dan Gazi Mahallesi'nde kendisini protesto eden vatandaşlara:— Amida Haber (@AmidaHaber) May 25, 2023
"PKK ile iç içe girmişsiniz. Hayırlı günler diliyorum. Oooh, oooh..." pic.twitter.com/9jn5YV1VH2
Soylu chose Gazi neighborhood, an Alevi-majority neighborhood of Istanbul, to campaign for Recep Tayyip Erdogan three days ahead of the presidential election runoff. When a group of protesters gathered around his bus, he started saying repeatedly through the loudspeaker:
"So you've joined hands with the PKK. I wish you a pleasant day."
Süleyman Soylu Gazi Mahallesi'nde kendisini yuhalayanlara 'Çocuklarınızı LGBT'den kurtardık' sözleriyle seslendi— soL Haber (@solhaberportali) May 25, 2023
????Protesto sırasında gözaltına alınanlar arasında bir çocuğun da olduğu görüldühttps://t.co/xH8cM5Ol5O pic.twitter.com/aHCG2Fvgcz
he also said through the loudspeaker, "We saved the neighborhood from LGBT."
Soylu's targeting of protesters continued for almost a minute while he repeated the same sentences over and over again and as his bus slowly drove through the crowd.
The people reacted by booing Soylu, and this was when the police stepped in to detain several protesters.
The hashtag "İcisleri" ("Interior Affairs") became trending after the incident.
Gazi neighborhood is traditionally an opposition-supporting neighborhood.
At least 20 people were killed in 1995 after mass protests erupted in the neighborhood following a series of coordinated attacks by unidentified gunmen, which left an Alevi religious leader dead and dozens injured.