A presenter for Ulusal TV, a media outlet affiliated with Doğu Perinçek’s ultranationalist Homeland Party (VP), has mocked main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who posted a New Year’s message in Kurdish on Twitter on Monday.
Halil Nebiler, presenter for the “Televizyon Gazetesi” (Television Daily) morning show, displayed Tanrıkulu’s message on a video wall and asked the crew, “Do you speak Kurdish, son? I don’t. How can I read this?” then started to mockingly read the message, using Turkish pronunciation.
“Man, I’m reading it, but could it be something disturbing? … This is what he [Tanrıkulu] is obsessed about!” Nebiler said to his guest in the studio.
Tanrıkulu responded to the scene, tweeting, “This insulting approach to my New Year’s message in Kurdish, which is one of the native languages of the republic’s citizens, is in fact discriminatory and divisive for Turkey.”
In his message Tanrıkulu wrote in Kurdish: “I hope 2009 becomes the year of freedom, peace and fraternity. Happy New Year to all peoples [in Turkey] and in the world.
Journalist Nebiler, known for a racist and xenophobic style, has been presenting his morning show since 2007 at Ulusal and ran for parliament from Perinçek’s party several times in the past.