Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has faced a backlash after telling a crying child that her martyrdom would be honoured by the country.
Six-year-old Amine Tiras was dressed in military uniform when she encountered the leader at his ruling party’s congress on Saturday in Kahramanmaras. She was standing by the stage in a salute pose when she burst into tears and caught his attention.
Summoning her onto the platform, Erdogan kissed her on both cheeks. He turned to the flag-waving crowd and said, “God bless her. A Turkish flag in her pocket. If she’s martyred, God willing, this flag will be draped [on her]. She’s ready for anything. Aren’t you?”
His words appalled many social media users, with some dubbing him a “fascist” and a “tyrant”.