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Turkey slams US Embassy on 'liking' a tweet

The tweet came amid rumors about the health of Devlet Bahceli, who was hospitalised for nausea last week, but discharged after a brief treatment

October 6, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli greets the crowd during a joint election rally of People’s Alliance ahead of March 31 local elections in Ankara, Turkey on March 23, 2019 [Volkan Furuncu / Anadolu Agency]

Turkey on Sunday slammed the US Embassy in Ankara for “liking” a Twitter post by a FETO fugitive, attacking Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

FETO is an acronym for ‘Fetullah Terrorist Organisation’ – a designation used by the Turkish state to reference supporters of the cleric Fetullah Gulen.

On Saturday, the official Twitter account of the US Embassy in Turkey “liked” a Twitter message by Ergun Babahan, a FETO member who fled Turkey following the July 15 coup attempt in 2016, which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.

Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said “the US Embassy ‘liked’ a message by a FETO-linked figure claiming [MHP leader Devlet] Bahceli’s ‘end is near’.”

“Freudian slip? The US Embassy has no business meddling in Turkey’s domestic affairs,” Altun said, urging the US Department of State to investigate the incident.

Babahan’s tweet came amid rumors about the health of Bahceli, who was hospitalised for nausea last week, but discharged after a brief treatment.

Also, the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman Omer Celik criticised the embassy move.

“We strongly condemn the US Embassy ‘like’ on MHP leader Devlet Bahceli’s health, which is unacceptable humanistically and against diplomatic practices,” Celik said on Twitter.

He called it “an attempt to intervene in Turkish domestics affairs,” calling on the US Department of State and the US Embassy in Turkey to probe the incident.

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Additionally, the MHP’s deputy chairman Semih Yalcin slammed the US over the Twitter “liking.”

Yalcin said the MHP leader has regained his health and will be on his watch next week, adding that those who are expecting Bahceli’s withdrawal will be disappointed.

On Saturday, The US Embassy in Ankara shared an apology message on Twitter over the incident.

“Earlier today our Embassy Twitter account ‘liked’ an unrelated post in error. We regret the mistake and apologise for any confusion,” it said.