Erdogan Vows to Honor 6-Year-old Girl if She's Martyred

An unmanned vehicle made in Turkey

An unmanned vehicle made in Turkey

"If she's martyred, she will be wrapped with it, God willing", he told the weeping child during a congress of his AK Party in Southern city of Kahramanmaras over the weekend.

When the president spotted her in the audience, she saluted but began to cry as she was beckoned on stage.

Mr Erdogan earlier this month said troops would also move east to Manbij - where unlike Afrin there is a USA military presence.

Erdogan kissed her on both cheeks and indicated a Turkish flag in her pocket.

"She is ready for everything, aren't you?"

"Look, look, what is there", Erdogan said in the video which is converted from Turkish to English. "Girl, what are you doing there? We have our maroon berets here, but maroon berets never cry", he told her, referring to the uniforms of the Turkish Special Operations Forces.

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Turkey has a longstanding culture of nationalist militarism, with popular slogans such as "Every Turk born a soldier".

Supporters of Mr Erdogan's Justice and Development Party at the rally appeared to cheer in response.

Student intake at Islamic schools has increased sharply since 2012 and the Turkish government plans to double its funding for religious upper schools.

Reporting on the story, the BBC's Turkish reporter Onur Erem notes, "It is not the first time that Mr. Erdogan's comments on martyrdom have caused controversy in Turkey, where every soldier or police officer killed on duty is considered a 'martyr'".

According to an Anadolu report, "Recep Tayyip Erdogan received Ahmed Ouyahia at a hotel in Algiers and a ceremony was held afterwards for signing several agreements between the two countries".

Turkish President Recep Erdogan faces a new round of criticism after wishing for a 6-year-old girl to die for her country. She wore a military-style uniform, but is not a cadet.

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