Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has found himself in hot water once again after making openly sexist and offensive remarks to a prominent female journalist.
The AFP reported on Friday that Erdogan made the comments against Amberin Zaman, who writes for the Economist and the Turkish Daily Taraf, calling her a “shameless woman” and telling her “to know your place” following comments she made in a televised debate.
It seems that Zaman ruffled the Prime Minister’s feathers by asking Turkey’s main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu during the debate whether any Muslim society was capable of challenging its authorities. That question really upset Erdogan, who lashed out at the journalist saying she was a “militant in the guise of a journalist, a shameless woman. Know your place!”
Carrying on with his offensive tone, the Prime Minister continued, “They gave you a pen and you are writing a column in a newspaper… and you insult a society that is 99 percent Muslim.”
This is by no means the first time Erdogan had lambasted Turkish journalists. Turkey has more reporters behind bars than any other country in the world.
The Economist promptly released a statement in response to Erdogan’s comments, supporting Amberin Zaman: “We stand firmly by her and her reporting. The intimidation of journalists has no place in a democracy. Under Mr Erdogan, Turkey has become an increasingly difficult place for independent journalism.”
Zaman herself also had something to say about the remarks against her. She wrote in her own column in the Taraf newspaper, an article entitled, “Be a human first!”: “You are lynching a Muslim woman who described what you are doing because women are sitting targets, aren’t they?”
Erdogan, who practices an extreme form of Islam, has also drawn criticism for comments he has made about reporters, America, Israel and Jewish people. Turkish pro-government media outlets are also quoted as to referring to Zaman as a “Jewish b***h” who should become a “concubine” of Islamist jihadists in Iraq.
The American Jewish Congress has asked Erdogan to return an award it gave him in 2004 due to his criticism of Israel. The Turkish leader responded by saying he would be “glad” to return the award.