Erdogan blasts presenter for asking about peaceful protests in Turkey

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday blasted television news anchor Fatih Portakal over his questioning of whether it was possible to hold a peaceful protest in Turkey without fear of the government, Ahval News quoted independent news site T24.

"Some morally deficient person is calling people to take to the streets. What a low life. The judiciary will respond to this," Erdogan said, in an apparent reference to Portakal. ‘"What are you doing? Is this Paris? Everyone got their lesson during the Gezi Park protests. And in the July 15 [2016 coup attempt]. They will pay a heavy price for this."

Fox TV news anchor Portakal last week said that people are afraid to take to the streets to protest, while criticising Ankara’s response to the ongoing Yellow Vests protests in France, labelling the police intervention as heavy-handed. Erdogan has said that the ongoing "yellow vests" protest movement reveals Europe’s failure in democracy, human rights and freedom.

‘"Do you think we can do it? How many people will be able to take the streets without fear? For the sake of God, can you tell me how many people would demonstrate? They are trying to discourage social opposition and keep it under pressure. It is a most natural right, but cannot be exercised. Whether it’s France or Turkey, it doesn’t really matter all that much,‘" Portakal said on Fox TV.

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