The north’s ‘transport minister’ Erhan Arikli has doubled down on controversial comments made on social media website Facebook on Friday, wherein he accused other users of being “mentally ill.”
In a new Facebook post on Friday evening, he said “after social media became widespread, many mentally ill people have phones in their hands. They fire volleys left and right from morning to night with the understanding of ‘today, no matter who I insult, I will satisfy myself.’”
Referring to the incident in question, he said “today, there was a news item about landscaping done at Ercan airport. In addition to those who praised and congratulated this, the mental patients I mentioned above immediately vomited venom under the news.”
“Some friends said in good faith that this sentence did not suit a member of parliament, but this could not be farther from the truth. I am a politician, but I am not a sycophant of the public,” he added.
Additionally, he said “look, brother, we are Muslims, not Christians. In Christianity, the principle of ‘thou shalt turn the other cheek to anyone who slaps you’ is recommended. However, in Islam, there is ‘tit for tat’. Whatever someone did to you, you have the right to do the same to the person who did it.”
He had initially raised eyebrows with his initial comment on a Facebook post accusing other users of being “mentally ill.”
In the comments section of a post regarding the planting of indigenous flowers at Ercan (Tymbou) airport, a number of people reacted negatively, suggesting that “basic problems at the airport should be solved” before flowers be planted.
Arikli reacted, writing “when I read some of these comments, I can’t help but ask ‘how did we raise so many mentally ill people in such a short time?’”
All comments on the post in question have since been deleted, and comments have now been turned off.
Turkish Cypriot opposition party CTP leader Tufan Erhurman condemned Arikli, saying “once again, he could not control himself. Once again, Erhan Arikli was touched by the beauty of his brain and his soul.”
“Of course we make serious efforts to protect our mental health in this country where people like you carry titles such as ‘minister’, but the real question is not the one you are asking. The real question is how did these people become ‘ministers’ in this country? How many times? That’s enough! Shut your mouth!” he added
This is not the first time Arikli has created controversy on Facebook. Last year, he was labelled a sexist by some after telling someone who suggested ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel be replaced by someone younger that “90 – 60 – 90 is my preference.”
He has also been known to create flashpoints in real life, including at a polling station during the north’s by-election in June, where he called a ballot box officer a “bastard” after the officer told his brother not to shake hands with him.