Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has slammed two newspapers over a report they published on an investigation launched into Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, saying that they have a "sick mentality."
Dailies Karar and Sözcü simply reported Soylu's remarks on İmamoğlu, who was accused of being disrespectful for holding his hands behind his back during a visit to a shrine.
"Yesterday it was Sözcü and today it is Karar. A sick mentality that castrates all concepts and describes lying and slander as democracy..." Soylu said on Twitter on May 8.
"They see no problem in publishing and spreading lies," the minister said.
Sözcü gazetesi dün— Süleyman Soylu | Maske😷 Mesafe↔️ Temizlik🧼 (@suleymansoylu) May 8, 2021
Karar gazetesi bugün
Yalan söylemeyi iftira atmayı
demokrasi olarak tarif eden, tüm kavramları iğdiş eden hastalıklı zihniyet...
Aynı yalanı yazmak ve yaymakta bir sakınca görmüyorlar...
Allah’a havale ediyorum...
İmamoğlu attended a commemoration ceremony in the shrine of Mehmed the Conqueror (Mehmed II) on the 567th anniversary of Istanbul's conquest last year. Mehmed II's wife Gülbahar Hatun's shrine is also at the same yard.
During the ceremony, İmamoğlu was walking around her shrine with his hands behind his back, prompting the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office to ask the Interior Ministry to launch a probe over disrespect.
Upon backlash, Soylu commented on İmamoğlu's hand gesture, saying, "For me, it's a crime."
"I also think it's disrespectful, but I won't allow an investigation into it," the minister said on May 7, prompting İmamoğlu to ask whether there is such a thing as "For me, it's a crime" in the constitution.
İmamoğlu, who is from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), is one of the figures targeted frequently by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). His decisive win in the Istanbul elections and staunch objection to Erdoğan's canal project have been major contributing factors to their constant targeting.
Targeting newspapers and journalists is no stranger to Soylu, who previously accused the daily BirGün of being a supporter of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).