Mafia leaders should not be depicted as role models, says Turkey's first lady Emine Erdoğan

During a conference addressing domestic violence issue in Turkey, first lady Emine Erdoğan has said that mafia leaders should not be depicted as "role models" in media. Shortly after the first lady's statements, social media users recalled the support President Erdoğan's nationalist ally Devlet Bahçeli has thrown behind mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı.

First lady Emine Erdoğan addresses a meeting in March in this file photo.

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Turkey’s first lady Emine Erdoğan has said that media should be very careful about the use of language when reporting on domestic violence cases, saying murderers, mafia leaders and bullies should be presented as if they are “role models.”

“Phrases used in news titles such as 'husband who got mad, husband who had a hysteria attack' are in fact offering an excuse for the committed crime. Violence and fear are given prominence since they attract more attention [in media]. Please do not sacrifice human dignity for the ratings. Murderers, mafia leaders, bullies should not be depicted as role models,” Emine Erdoğan said.

The first lady made the comments on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Nov. 25, while attending via video-conference a program discussing “The role of TV series in the struggle against violence.” The event was organized by the Family, Labour and Social Services Ministry.

“Domestic violence is not just a bleeding wound of our country, but of whole the world. In fact, in one sense, it a global pandemic,” Emine Erdoğan said.

Shortly after the first lady's remarks, social media users recalled Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chair Devlet Bahçeli's support for mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı. 

Bahçeli, a key political ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, last week referred to Çakıcı as a “comrade” and “patriot,” after the mafia leader threatened main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Çakıcı's threat against Kılıçdaroğlu came after the latter's criticism of the government for allowing the release of “mafia leaders and drug traffickers" in an amnesty law in April.

Çakıcı was released from prison on April 16 as part of the law that was drafted by the ruling AKP and its junior coalition partner MHP. Journalists and political prisoners were excluded from the government's amnesty law.

Çakıcı's release had been a long-term project for Bahçeli. Shortly after calling for a general amnesty on May 12, 2018, Bahçeli had paid a visit to Çakıcı in prison, who he deemed “a lover of the nation.”

Çakıcı on Nov. 17 released an open letter, calling on Kılıçdaroğlu to “watch his step.” “If you put Bahçeli in the same pot as traitors, you would be making the mistake of your life,” Çakıcı wrote in his letter.

The AKP announced on Nov. 19 that an investigation was launched into Çakıcı, after staying silent on the issue for two days.