Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan screamed an anti-Israel slur at a Turkish mine disaster protester, The Algemeiner reported on Thursday.
“Why are you running away from me, Israeli sperm,” Erdogan said to a protester, using a Turkish word that is used as a curse.
The incident, captured on video, took place during Erdogan’s tour of Soma, recently devastated by a coal mine fire that killed close to 300 people.
In footage of the incident published online, Erdogan is seen surrounded by security personnel who proceeded to beat the protester following the incident.
Protesters have criticized Erdogan in the wake of the mine accident for failing to require coal mining companies to use updated equipment, which might had saved many of the lives lost.
The incident is one of many that point to an increasingly hostile environment for the country’s Jews under Turkey’s first Islamist government.
Erdogan supporters last year shouted “are you Jewish?” as they attacked a woman as she was walking in the streets of Istanbul, according to a report. The woman posted pictures on Twitter which showed bruises on her face and body.
The Erdogan government is facing an increasingly hostile political atmosphere leading up to elections this summer. Erdogan and his allies have blamed “international groups” and the “Jewish diaspora” for unrest that has plagued the country over the past year.
At the same time, however, the Turkish government is about to complete diplomatic reconciliation with Israel. The Turkish-Israeli relationship used to be highly cooperative, but has suffered badly since Erdogan’s election.