Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the Turks to be ready for conscription, during a speech in the town of Kahramanmaras, raising questions about the course of the country’s military operations in Syria.
“Let everyone be ready for conscription, though the need is not immediate. We are just before a new resurrection. After consulting with the military leadership and sending out conscription papers to the public, we will rush to the call with me being the first to do so”, the Turkish president stressed.
At one point, a young girl in the hall, dressed in military uniform complete with a maroon beret worn by the Turkish Special Operations Forces, caught Erdogan’s attention. He invited the child, who looked about four or five years-old, to come to the stage next to him. She did, although the attention apparently made her uncomfortable, judging by her sobbing.
In a bizarre act of propaganda, while urging the nation to be ready for mobilization, Erdogan told the sobbing child she would receive state honors if killed.
“Look what you see here! Girl, what are you doing here? We have our maroon berets here, but maroon berets never cry,” the Turkish president told the child in an apparent attempt to calm her.
“She has a Turkish flag in her pocket too,” Erdogan then told the audience, embracing the girl.
“If she is martyred [killed], they will lay a flag on her, God willing,” he then added in a bizarre twist: “She is ready for everything, isn’t she?”
The confused girl only answered: “Yes.” Erdogan planted a kiss on the girl’s face and let her go.
Erdogan’s statements, as well as reports in Turkish electronic media urging citizens to see the locations they would be drafted to resulted in the site of the Turkish Ministry of Defence crashing, as did many other websites affiliated to the Turkish government.
The Turkish military operations in the region of Afrin in Syria have entered their second month, with Erdogan claiming it has resulted in the death of “1,873 terrorists”.