Turkish President Tells Crying Little Girl She'll Be Honoured If She's 'Martyred'

02 March 2018, 01:29 | Isaac Mcdaniel

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Erdogan called the girl, who was wearing a military-style outfit and a maroon beret, on stage. "If she's martyred, she will be wrapped with it, God willing", he told the weeping child during a congress of his AK Party in Southern city of Kahramanmaras over the weekend. It was unclear why the girl, who has not been identified, was dressed in military uniform.

The girl appeared to be sobbing as she walked towards the podium.

"She has the Turkish flag in her pocket", Erdogan told the crowd as he stood alongside the startled child.

The confused girl only answered: "Yes".

"Calling the little girl to the stage, Erdogan kissed her on the forehead".

The freaky scene was accompanied by the party members" cheers "Chief!

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Erdogan's comments came as a reaction after five Turkish soldiers were killed in a tank that was destroyed by an antitank missile while fighting in Syria's Afrin district against a Kurd movement which is incidentally supported by the US Army in the fight against ISIS.

The head of state congratulated President Erdogan on his birthday and wished him good luck and success in the presidential activities for the sake of well-being of the Turkish people, Trend reports.

His speech attracted criticism, with some deeming it as "child abuse" and others deeming it as a celebration of death. "We will win the struggle for the children's free and happy life!" the party said in a Twitter post.

A total of 1,780 "terrorists" have been "neutralized" since Ankara began launching air strikes and its troops advanced into the Kurdish-held territories, according to the Turkish General Staff. Ankara insists that the offensive is exclusively aimed at neutralizing threats to its national security, denying allegations that it has targeted civilians.

Erdogan said that the country can cope with this task.

Turkey on 20 January launched a major operation aimed at ousting YPG Kurdish forces from their enclave of the northwestern town of Afrin.

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