Turkish PM tells female reporter to 'know your place'

Istanbul - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced new questions on Friday over his attitude to the media and women after he branded a prominent female journalist a "shameless woman" and told her "to know your place".

Just ahead of Sunday's presidential election which he is clear favourite to win, Erdogan savaged Amberin Zaman, who writes for the Economist and the Turkish daily Taraf, over comments she made in a television debate.

She had asked the main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the debate whether any Muslim society was capable of challenging its authorities.

Erdogan lashed out at Zaman, without mentioning her directly by name, at an election rally in the eastern city of Malatya on Thursday, calling her a "shameless woman".

"A militant in the guise of a journalist, a shameless woman... Know your place!" he declared.

"They gave you a pen and you are writing a column in a newspaper... and you insult a society that is 99% Muslim," he said, drawing loud boos from the crowd.

This is not the first time Erdogan has lashed out at journalists, who have come under increasing pressure in Turkey, which has more reporters behind bars than any other country in the world.

The Economist released a statement in response to the salvo, saying its correspondent of 15 years was "widely respected".

"We stand firmly by her and her reporting. The intimidation of journalists has no place in a democracy. Under Mr Erdogan, Turkey has become an increasingly difficult place for independent journalism," the statement said.

Zaman responded to Erdogan through her column in the Taraf newspaper, headlined: "Be a human first!"

"You are lynching a Muslim woman who described what you are doing. Because women are sitting targets, aren't they?"

She said she had been the target of a smear campaign by pro-government media outlets, who had called her a "Jewish bitch" who should become a "concubine" of Islamist jihadists in Iraq.

Erdogan, a pious Muslim who has led the Islamic-rooted ruling party since 2002, has come under strong criticism from Western politicians and rights groups for his crackdown on the media.

The US-based watchdog Freedom House downgraded the status of Turkey's media from "partly free" to "not free" in May.

The government's attitude towards women is also under heavy scrutiny after Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc caused a furore by suggesting women should not laugh loudly in public.

But Erdogan remains the hot favourite to win Sunday's election and become head of state, with the main question being if he will win outright in the first round.

Zeenat Allie 2014-08-08 11:59:54 PM
Here we go again. The Muslim basher brigade is out in full force. I luv it when media freedom is challenged in the face of another democratically elected nation. The journalist asked the question and received a response adequate to that of another rising nationalist society, it being branded I suppose in the near future as a terrorist organization. At this rate, soon the men with robes and beards appear ( for the mentally challenged Christian priests, Jewish rabbis and Muslim clergy),arguments are traded, guns drawn and we have another uprising where many lives are lost. The fact is not all nations ascribe to a western idea of a democracy whether they be the far right in the Knesset as in Israel or the monarchs of Arabia and by defacto we tend to choose the lives we yearn to or rather as portrayed to us in our daily routines white picket fence green grass and daily soapie running on the Telly. So to the Muslim bashing brigade, stop your crap, focus your energy on loving thy Neighbour, integrate our children in schools, educate them about religious, cultural and ethnic tolerance before spewing your bile in general public. Meaningful and sincere humanitarian Dialogue will avoid the senseless killing of fathers wives children and the wholesale massacre of families. Remember history has proven that violence begets more violence.
Painted Canvas 2014-08-09 10:08:55 AM
All Muslims are definitely not like Erdogan but the support he seems to have in Turkey is scary. Like with everything, the moderates are probably the silent majority but the ultra conservatives and extremists get the focus of the media.
Tomorrowss Dreamss 2014-08-09 10:35:30 AM
You will be saved by the name of Jesus Christ - NO other god. That is what the holy Bible teaches me, and that is what I see with my eyes. jesus Christ gives victory to His children.
Binte Maya 2014-08-09 11:10:12 AM
Zeenat.. with all due respect my fellow sister.. calling people names is not going to help you defending islam.. it might hurt to see people disrespect n mock our religion.. but have patience and control ones anger.. This is what we were taught by nabi s.a.w.
Andy Mckissock 2014-08-09 11:32:55 AM
Where is HER place? Barefoot in the kitchen! This man is an a***hole!
EagleOne Knievel 2014-08-09 11:54:18 AM
What a turkey...
Tomorrowss Dreamss 2014-08-09 11:58:16 AM
Hahahaha! Look at Zeenat Allie swearing at Russel Hatfield. So typical islam. If they dont go around raping, kidnapping, murdering, bombing women, then they swear and spit at Christians. Islam is a violent religion, and I agree they must be wiped from the earth.
Binte Maya 2014-08-09 12:16:15 PM
Many ppl make mistakes @tomorows dreams.. don't generalise.. Thanks
Raymond Kok 2014-11-16 06:46:04 AM
how dare she challenge the great one ,well we all know how muslims view their woman so enough said