Turkey PM ‘hurls anti-Israel slur at protesters’

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iol pic wld Turkey Mining Accident~11 AP In this May 14, 2014 photo, Yusuf Yerkel, right, advisor to Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stands behind Erdogan during his visit in Soma. Picture: Emrah Gurel


Ankara - Turkey's prime minister shouted an anti-Israel slur as he was mobbed by angry protesters at the site of a deadly mine blast this week, local media reported on Friday.

“Why are you running away, Israeli spawn?” Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heard yelling at a protester in video footage circulated by the opposition Sozcu newspaper, using an expression considered a curse in Turkish.

In the footage that could not be authenticated, Erdogan is seen surrounded by angry protesters shouting and whistling at him as he visited the tragedy-hit town of Soma on Wednesday a day after the blast.

Some local media claimed Erdogan hit the protester in the commotion, but this was not clearly visible on the video, and was denied by the deputy chairman of his ruling party, Huseyin Celik.

The controversial new footage comes after photographs of Erdogan's advisor Yusuf Erkel violently kicking a protester in Soma went viral on social media, sparking global outrage.

Protesters in the western town booed and kicked the premier's car in anger at the government's perceived failure to prevent a disaster that cost close to 300 lives.

Erdogan's government is under mounting pressure to contain fallout from the mine catastrophe, the worst industrial accident in the country's history.

Turkey's most popular leader, who dominated politics for 11 years, is known for his angry outbursts at the Jewish state.

A staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, he often blasted Israel over its bloody military assaults on the Gaza Strip, making him a popular figure on the Arab street.- Sapa-AFP

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