Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday asked voters to give a lesson to people who are enemies of the call to prayer, reiterating his claim that some attendees booed the Islamic call to prayer during the Women’s Day March on March 8.
“I expect you to give a serious lesson to enemies of the call to prayer. This is an election for the existence [of Turkey],” Erdoğan told the crowd at an Ankara rally ahead of local elections of March 31.
Erdoğan claimed that those who cannot tolerate the call to prayer and burn flags go hand-in-hand with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). He asked his supporters to give an “Ottoman slap” to those people.
Several thousand women had gathered in İstiklal Street near İstanbul’s Taksim Square on Friday evening for a march to celebrate International Women’s Day, but police fired tear gas to disperse them.
In an election rally for the upcoming local elections in Turkey broadcast on television on Sunday, Erdoğan played a video taken during the protest, showing women chanting while a nearby mosque was reciting the call to prayer.
“They disrespected the Adhan [call to prayer] with slogans, booing and whistling,” Erdoğan told the crowd in the southern Turkish province of Adana.
Women who took part in the march said on Twitter the chanting and whistling was part of the demonstration and was not aimed at the call to prayer, which began during their protest.
Some pro-government columnists denied reports of disrespect saying that women were reacting to police, not the call to prayer.