Pro-government TV anchor resigns after threatening to kill secular civilians in Istanbul

A presenter for the pro-government Akit TV has resigned from his post after speaking about "killing civilians" in secular neighbourhoods of Turkey's Istanbul
Wednesday, 28 February 2018 18:39

A presenter for the pro-government Akit TV on Wednesday resigned after triggering outrage by commenting that if the "they had wanted to kill civilians they would have started with staunchly-secular areas in İstanbul.

Ahmet Keser made the comments while rejecting claims civilians had been killed in Turkish government's operation in Syria's Afrin.

Asking why the Turkish army would target civilians, he said: "If we were [political Islamist, AKP government, army] going to kill civilians, then we would start with Cihangir, Nişantaşı and Etiler, there are plenty of traitors there. And there's also the Turkish parliament."

Cihangir, Nişantaşı and Etiler are three upscale neighbourhoods in İstanbul where residents are predominantly 'secular'. The comments by Keser sparked outrage among opposition critics.

Istanbul prosecutors 'charged' him with inciting hatred and hostility. However, pro-government Akit's television and newspaper are only known to make targets out of dissidents, be them politicians, activists, media outlets and journalists.

Yusuf Ozan, another presenter for Akit TV, on February 11 targeted the opposition daily over a story it ran on the Afrin offensive in Syria, saying Cumhuriyet journalists deserve to be executed. 

Commenting on a Cumhuriyet report about 11 Turkish soldiers killed in Syria's Afrin Ozan said, "You liked the number 11. It gave you a rush and you put it in the headline. I wish Turkey was a one-man regime that would close you down in two minutes. I wish Turkey was a Sharia regime that would execute you. I’m saying this clearly: You are all traitors."

An arts centre in Kadıköy district of İstanbul founded by Müjdat Gezen, a famous Turkish actor known for his anti-government stance, was set on fire on February 20, 2017. Akit daily run a scandalous headline after the incident, which read "Great shock to Müjdat, the!".