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The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come under fire after he was filmed telling a crying girl that she'd be 'honoured' if she were to lose her life while fighting for Turkey.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was delivering a speech at his ruling party AK Parti's congress in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaraş this past weekend when he spotted six-year-old Amine Tiras crying in front of him.
Erdogan halted his speech to call for Amine to join him on the stage, kissing her on both cheeks to comfort her as she did so.
CHECK OUT ERDAGON'S COMMENTS ABOUT THE GIRL BELOW:
After trying to comfort Amine, Erdogan told the crowd: "She has the Turkish flag in her pocket. If she becomes a martyr, God willing, this flag will be draped on her. She is ready for anything."
The incident sparked a wide range of reactions on social media, as many people took to Twitter to rebuke or praise the president.
One observers was appalled by Erdogan's statement, saying it was the duty of the state to protect children, not to 'kill' them. Another said: "You don't wish death for a child, you never say: 'God willing'."
One journalist Julie Lenarz even called Erdogan's actions 'disgusting child abuse'. "Everyone else except Erdogan's family is expendable," a fourth added.
Turkish President Erdogan tells a sobbing girl in military uniform that she would be honoured if killed while fighting. Glorifying children's deaths? Promoting child soldiers? Sick. https://t.co/3PW1qKsTuT pic.twitter.com/Ua8rson2BD
- Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) February 26, 2018
Despite the fury Erdogan's actions brought from some quarters, the Turkish national media saw less of a problem with the incident
According to dw.com, the pro-Erdogan Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet described the incident positively, saying: "During President Erdogan's speech, a girl with a purple beret appeared on camera.
"Calling the little girl to the stage, Erdogan kissed her on the forehead. The little girl got really excited and her eyes filled with tears."
"If she falls as a martyr they will also - as God wishes - cover her with the flag. She is ready for anything," said Turkish president @RT_Erdogan to a weeping 6-year-old girl during a speech. pic.twitter.com/Xw72AEXrE1- dwnews (@dwnews) February 26, 2018
Erdogan's leadership of Turkey has come under increased scrutiny of late with nationalist sentiments running high in the transcontinental country.
In the battle against Islamic State, Turkish forces have also been shelling the YPG, Kurdish fighters against the border in Syria which Turkey associates with Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.
Metro has reported that many children dressed in army uniforms or reading nationalist poetry - such as Amine Tiras - have been making appearances at events Erdogan attends recently.
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