13 June 2012 / TODAY'S ZAMAN, STANBUL
Turkey's European Union affairs minister has once again squabbled with a far-right Dutch deputy at a gathering of Turkish and European parliamentarians in Strasbourg, telling Party for Freedom (PVV) deputy Barry Madlener to get lost.
Madlener spoke at a meeting of the European Union-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Madlener claimed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is taking Turkey back to the Middle Ages, that Turkey is becoming an Islamic state and made several comments deemed to be insulting to Islam and Muslims.
Responding to Madlener's statements at Wednesday's meeting, Egemen Ba accused Madlener of provocation, as always. I will answer you with a phrase that has been frequently used in Turkey in recent times. Our people are saying, Olum, bak git' [Get lost, kid], he added.
Ba's response to the Dutch deputy was inspired by an Internet meme that has gone viral among Turkish Internet users in the past few weeks. The video features a dispute between a teenager and a garbage man.
The juvenile appears to taunt street cleaner Selçuk Kahraman, shouting, Come on, hit me, hit me, as he brandishes his belt. The boy repeatedly taunts Kahraman, who attempts to ward off the juvenile by repeatedly saying, Olum bak git, or Get lost, kid, until the street cleaner loses his patience and hits the boy over the head with a broom, sending him running. The street cleaner's verbal defense of Olum, bak git has become an iconic phrase, with the clip receiving over a million hits on YouTube.
The Dutch deputy also said he wanted to give EU Affairs Minister Ba a book published by his far-right party. The Turkish minister responded: I don't want a book from you. Put it in the same place you put the cartoon.
Ba's comment was a reference to a prior incident with the same Dutch deputy last year when Madlener lambasted Islam and Turkey and then attempted to present a cartoon deemed criminal by Turkish prosecutors as a gift to the Turkish minister. The cartoon, published in Turkish humor magazine Penguen landed cartoonist Bahadr Baruter in court with a state prosecutor charging him with insulting religious values and demanding a one-year jail sentence.
The cartoon depicts an imam and a group of believers praying in a mosque, distracted by a man talking to God on his cell phone and asking if he can be excused from the last part of the prayer because he has things to do. The words There is no God and Religion is a lie are seen written on the walls of the mosque.
When Madlener attempted to present a framed copy of the cartoon to Ba, Turkish lawmaker Akif Demirkran, who was chairing the meeting, received the cartoon as Ba shouted, Don't take it!
Ba then told Madlener: I have enough cartoons at home. Put it in your appropriate place.
Also, in a previous session of the European Union-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, held in May 2010, Madlener stormed out after saying Turkey's real friend was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and not Europe.
''Nothing is true, Everything is permitted'' Hasan ibn Sabbah