Elections in Turkey: Kılıçdaroğlu's prayer mat gaffe

A photo showing Turkish opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu standing on what was apparently a prayer rug with his shoes on went viral on the weekend. Muslims remove their shoes when they enter a mosque or use a prayer rug. Propaganda media close to Erdoğan are now hyping the incident. A major faux pas or much ado about nothing?

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Hürriyet (TR) /

Just as it suits him

It's no coincidence that this happened to a representative of the secular CHP, Hürriyet puts in:

“In an election campaign it should be unthinkable for Kılıçdaroğlu, who prided himself on being declared a mujahideen by the Islamist Saadet Party in order to secure the support of religious voters, to step on a prayer rug. But this does not change the fact that he is insensitive, indifferent and careless about religious issues. The incident was exposed through posts by CHP parliamentary candidates on their social media accounts. They all stepped on the prayer rug with their shoes and took photos of it and shared it. ... That's just the mentality of the CHP.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Cheap campaign tactics

For Habertürk there is no basis to the photo scandal:

“The place where the photo in question was taken is not a special place for prayer. It is not a mosque. It is the administrative room of the restaurant where he broke his fast. It's not even clear whether what was on the floor is a prayer rug or just a rug that looks like one. ... Why won't those who are calling Kılıçdaroğlu 'disrespectful to Islam' listen to the statement [defending Kılıçdaroğlu] by İsmail Müftüoğlu, the former justice minister who organised the breaking of the fast in question?”