"If we were going to kill civilians then we would start with Cihangir, Nisantasi and Etiler, there are plenty of traitors there. And there's also the Turkish parliament," TV anchor Ahmet Keser said.
The comment by Akit TV anchor Ahmet Keser, which was dismissive of the allegations of civilian casualties in Afrin, infuriated not only opposition critics, but even ruling party officials. As the journalist was rejecting the accusations, he pointed out that if the country was going to kill civilians, it would start with secular neighborhoods of Istanbul, where "plenty of traitors" live.
Cihangir, Nisantasi and Etiler are three neighborhoods of Istanbul inhabited mostly by secular people who prefer a European lifestyle.
The spokesman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Mahir Unal slammed the comment as unacceptable and inexplicable and criticized the anchor for trying to divide the country. According to him, the police have launched an investigation into what Mahir Unal called "bald provocation."
Akit TV officials have already stated that Ahmet Keser's words were not approved by the media and that he has already left his position.