A Turkish far-right politician has congratulated a group for beating a man who refused to join moment of silence to commemorate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the country's founding father, in Istanbul.
The group in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, including shop owners, beat up the man after he didn't join them in commemorating Atatürk at 9:05 a.m., the time of his death, on Nov. 10.
The footage of the group beating the man went viral on social media, with some users appreciating the group, while others comparing the act to fundamentalists' habit of beating those not fasting during Ramadan.
Ümit Özdağ, the leader of the Victory Party who is known for his racist remarks and threats against minorities, visited shop owner Cemil Şaer, who made the first move against the man in Grand Bazaar.
"After seeing the footage, I promised them that I would visit and congratulate them," Özdağ said in a video he shared on Twitter on Nov. 15, while the perpetrator is seen nodding next to him.
"Brother, I congratulate you," he told Şaer, who was then applauded by the people nearby.
10 Kasım’da Atatürk’e saygısızlık yapan kişiye haddini bildiren Kapalıçarşı esnaflarından Cemil Şaer’i ve diğer esnaf kardeşlerimizi ziyaret ettim. Ülkemizin kurucusu Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’e saygısızlık yapanlar karşısında her zaman bizi bulacak. pic.twitter.com/4bN1cbNgZr— Ümit Özdağ (@umitozdag) November 15, 2021
"The founding father of Turkey is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. We remember him with respect," the shop owner said.
In his tweet, Özdağ said that "those who disrespect Atatürk will always be countered by us."