An adviser to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been caught on camera kicking a protester as Turkish forces cracked down on demonstrators following the collapse of a mine in Soma, 350 miles west of Ankara.
Around 3000 anti-privatisation protesters took the to streets of Ankara while mourners from the families of the some 282 miners gathered in the town of Soma, the Independent reports.. They were met with violence from police and state authorities, and in one case, from prime ministerial adviser Yusuf Yerkel.
The incident, which was photographed from a number of angles, shows Yerkel kicking a protester who is reported to be a family member of one of the dead miners. In the photos, the victim is being held down on the floor by government forces, while Yerkel puts the boot in.
Yerkel, who is a former student of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London – known for its hardline left-wing student population, confirmed in a telephone conversation that he was the man in the image seen about to kick a protester. He said he would release a statement on the incident “as soon as possible”.
The Soma mining disaster is said to be the worst incident in Turkey’s mining history.