A popular Turkish actor has been the target of insults by a far-right politician for seeking help for the containment of wildfires that started in Turkey in late July and for supporting an online campaign pleading for international assistance in extinguishing the fires.
Turkish actor Şahan Gökbakar drew the anger of far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Chairman İzzet Ulvi Önder after he posted videos on his social media account about the efforts to put out the fires in Turkey’s popular tourism resort of Muğla on the Aegean coast, which has had to fight multiple fires since July 28.
Gökbakar’s videos also included criticism of the government for the lack of sufficient firefighting planes and helicopters, as a result of which Turkey has lost large swathes of forestland on its western and southern coasts since the outbreak of the fires.
In one of his videos the actor also criticized a pro-government daily that targeted famous singers and actors who extended their support to an international “Help Turkey” call in a move that angered the government, which claimed the campaign was organized by provocateurs with the aim of humiliating Turkey.
Gökbakar said the celebrity figures targeted by the İzmir-based Yeni Asır daily are all people who love their country and are not traitors as claimed by pro-government figures.
The MHP’s Önder posted Gökbakar’s video on Twitter in which he supported the celebrity figures who backed the ‘Help Turkey” campaign and said: ““Your discourse is the same as Recep İvedik. … You ask for help for yourself, Şahan. Never get involved in things your empty head cannot understand because you have fallen as low as you can. But never forget that the state of Turkey is strong. Try to feel a bit of shame before making people laugh.”
Önder was referring to Recep İvedik, an oaf played by Gökbakar in his famous movie series.
Gökbakar responded to Önder in another video, saying the politician was trying to give him a lesson in decency while using insulting language about him. He said Recep İvedik was a fictional character and has nothing to do with his own personality.
The MHP is the election ally of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has drawn widespread criticism for its poor response to the wildfires.