AKP MP draws ire for posting lobster dish from Monaco

Turkish ruling AKP deputy Şebnem Bursalı has drawn ire after posting a lobster dish photo from Monaco on social media amid Turkey's cost of living crisis. Former AKP Central Executive Board member Mücahit Birinci called for Bursalı’s resignation from the party.

Duvar English

A deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) posting a lobster dish photo from Monaco has drawn criticism on social media amid the cost of living crisis. After her Instagram story, Bursalı saw the reaction of people from both the AKP and the opposition bloc.

In a social media post, former AKP Central Executive Board member Mücahit Birinci harshly criticized Bursalı on April 14, saying “While our nation is struggling to make ends meet, while our state is working hard to fix the economy, you cannot go and eat lobster in Monaco, and if you have eaten it, you cannot share it!”

“If you shared, then you will resign from this party. You will go to whichever party suits your attitude, your state of mind! There is no place here for these people with this attitude anymore! In spite of you, we will protect our President until we get rid of you one by one. Get out of our party,” Birinci concluded.

Similarly, AKP Central Executive Board member and former deputy Orhan Miroğlu on April 15 said “It is not that you are rich enough to pay the bill for your vacation, it is that the situation does not suit you as a representative of the nation. An MP cannot behave like a social media infleuncer.”

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Oğuz Kaan Salıcı reminded the cost of living crisis in Turkey and asked Bursalı if her dish was cheaper than in Turkey.

“While young people cannot eat fish in Eminönü, AKP MP Şebnem Bursalı's lobster feast at the Monaco Yacht Club is vulgarity, and is the epitome of AKP arrogance. Bon appetit Ms. Şebnem. What's the bill? We know about inflation. Was it cheaper than Turkey?,” Salıcı said.

After the criticisms, Bursalı released a written statement on social media on April 14, apologising for her post. Bursalı argued that some criticisms were made in an attempt to “change the agenda to replace the cable car disaster in Antalya!” 

The cable car accident in Antalya province killed one person and injured 17, while the 174 trapped passengers had waited for hours in the airborne cabins to be rescued.

“After our intensive (local) election campaigns, I shared a meal, which is I used to do, in a restaurant where we went to spend the Eid holiday with my family and nephews living abroad, which caused a justified reaction from the public. As a 30-year journalist and now an MP, I apologize to the public for this mistake, which I have never made,” Bursalı said.

She added that she was “deeply saddened that my party, which I am honored to be a member of, and our President (Erdoğan), whom I am honored to walk in his path with every breath, have been targeted for this reason.”

Turkey's official statistical authority, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), reported the annual inflation rate as 68.5 percent in March while the independent inflation group ENAG put the figure at 124.63 percent.

Some experts commented that the unabated cost of living crisis might had an impact on the AKP’s loss in the local elections. The AKP became the second party for the first time in its 22-year history in an election, following the CHP.