Turkish president Ergodan tells girl she'd be honored if martyred

Turkey's president has come under fire after telling a tearful young girl in military uniform the country would honour her if she became a martyr.

According to dw.com, the pro-Erdogan Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet described the incident positively, saying: "During President Erdogan's speech, a girl with a purple beret appeared on camera".

"If she's martyred, they'll lay a flag on her", he told the little girl, who was weeping. At some point Erdogan called on Tiras and she was "lifted into the air" and sent towards him.

Those in the audience yelled "Chief!"

Algeria is Turkey's largest partner in Africa, with trade exchange hitting 4 billion USA dollars in 2017, while Turkey is Algeria's 7th largest trade partner.

The Maroon Berets are fighting in Afrin, a Syrian enclave the Turks are trying to take from the Kurds, and when the president noticed the girl's beret, he called her to the stage.

Nationalist sentiment including dressing children in military uniforms has been high as Turkey clashes with Syrian Kurds
Nationalist sentiment including dressing children in military uniforms has been high as Turkey clashes with Syrian Kurds

The embattled leader was addressing members of Turkey's ruling party Saturday in Kahramanmaras when he noticed Amine Tiras crying.

"Children should never be in the shadow of weapons and should not be the face of wars".

Erdogan's critics pounced on his using children to boost the nationalist sentiment in the country. The curriculum in religious vocational schools this year introduced the concept of jihad as being about patriotism.

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.

Afrin is the site of Turkey's recent incursion into Syria.

  • Jon Douglas