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Turkish TV Host Quits After Threats to ‘Kill Civilians’

A Turkish presenter who made an on-air outburst about killing civilians in secular districts of Istanbul has resigned after being described as “psychotic” by a ruling-party spokesman.

Ahmet Keser made the remarks on Akit TV, a broadcast channel arm of the strongly conservative Akit media group, during an item about Turkey’s ongoing military operations in Afrin, Syria.

“If we [Turks] were to kill civilians, we would have started in Cihangir, Nisantasi and Etiler, wouldn’t we?” he was quoted as saying by Hurriyet Daily News.

“There are many traitors. There is the Turkish parliament, too,” he added.

Keser has since stood down after losing the backing of his employers. A criminal investigation has also been launched into his remarks.

Hurriyet reported a spokesman from the country’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, Mahir Unal, saying: “It is unacceptable and unexplainable. This is openly psychotic.”

Akit’s newspaper arm, the daily Yeni Akit, has been described by the liberal Hrant Dink Foundation as one of three Turkish news outlets which promulgate hate speech.

During the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it controversially published a word-search puzzle featuring an image of Adolf Hitler with the solution: “We are searching for you.”

In 2015, after Greece legislated for same-sex civil union, it ran the headline: “Faggots can go to Greece.”

In May last year, Yeni Akit columnist Abudrrahman Dilipak also took a swipe at Greece, writing: “Greek history is a mythology and it is made up by westerners…The [first] Olympics were held in Hatay, not in Athens.”

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