Ahmet Keser, a presenter for the pro-government Akit TV station, on Tuesday reacted to news stories that Turkey is killing civilians in the Afrin region of Syria, saying if they were to kill civilians they would start with people critical of the government living in the Cihangir, Nişantaşı and Etiler neighborhoods of Istanbul and even some deputies in Parliament.
“If we were to kill civilians, we would start in Cihangir. Nişantaşı and Etiler… There are lots of traitors there, right? They’re in the Turkish Parliament, too,” Keser said during a program aired on Tuesday morning.
The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Good Party (IYI) on Tuesday filed a criminal complaint about Keser, the editor-in-chief and also owner of Akit TV.
CHP deputy Barış Yarkadaş also informed the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) about Keser’s statement and called on Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman to take the necessary measures addressing the threats to Parliament members made by Keser.
Yusuf Ozan, another presenter for Akit TV, on Feb. 11 targeted the Cumhuriyet daily over a story it ran on the Afrin operation in Syria, saying Cumhuriyet journalists deserve to be executed.
The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have reacted strongly to people who oppose the operation, and prosecutor’s offices have initiated investigations into those who share social media messages critical of the operation.
President Erdoğan on Jan. 21 warned the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) not to take to the streets to protest the operation in Afrin: “You are being closely followed. If you try to take to the streets, know that our security forces will be at your neck.”
“If anyone is in the streets upon calls [from the HDP], they will pay dearly for it. This is a national fight, and whoever opposes us will be crushed,” Erdoğan added.
Kral FM radio host Ali Şentürk, known as “Afrikalı Ali,” called on security forces to kill anybody who criticizes Turkey’s operation in Afrin.