Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday (10 March) accused a women’s march in central Istanbul on Friday of disrespecting Islam by booing the Islamic call to prayer.
Several thousand women had gathered in central Istanbul on Friday evening for a march to celebrate International Women’s Day but police fired tear gas to disperse them.
In an election rally broadcast on television on Sunday, Erdoğan showed a video taken during the protest, showing women chanting while a nearby mosque was reciting the call to prayer.
“They disrepected the Azan (call to prayer) by slogans, booing and whistling,” Erdoğan told the crowd.
On Erdogan's remarks:
Women were protesting the ban on their feminist march, and they continued during the call to prayer. (As seen in the video)
Pro-govt media circulated what became a manipulation of this situation, making it look like the women were protesting the latter. pic.twitter.com/kTYxumOoAk
— Aylina Kılıç (@AylinaKilic) March 10, 2019
Women who took part in the march said on Twitter the chanting and whistling was part of the demonstration and was not aimed at the call to prayer, which began during their protest.
Turkish police regularly prevent protests in central Istanbul and elsewhere. Ankara tightened restrictions after the imposition of emergency rule following an attempted coup in 2016. The state of emergency was lifted last July.
Erdoğan’s rally was ahead of local elections on 31 March for mayors and municipal boards.