An official from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party has reportedly been fired after saying she hoped Israeli tourists injured in Saturday’s deadly suicide bombing in Istanbul had died.
Irem Atkas sent her ill-wishes over Twitter shortly after a bomb was detonated in central Istanbul, killing three Israelis and wounding 11 others, according to Turkish officials.
“I wish that the wounded Israeli tourists were dead,” Aktas, a board member in the women’s branch of the party in the Istanbul neighborhood of Eyup tweeted shortly after the attack.
Her account was removed from social media site not long thereafter.
Aktas was reportedly dismissed from her duties immediately afterwards.
Five people in total were killed and another 36 injured after the suicide bomber struck Istiklal Caddesi, a pedestrian thoroughfare on the European side of Istanbul that is usually thronged with shoppers and strollers but was still relatively quiet when the bomber struck around 11:00 a.m. local time.
The fourth person was an Iranian national and the fifth was the suicide bomber, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet.
Israeli officials only confirmed one national was killed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to contact the Turkish Foreign Ministry and demand an official apology.
Aykan Erdemir, a former Turkish MP and columnist, captured an image of Aktas’s tweet before it was removed. He later tweeted that her hurtful comment was not representative of other Turkish politicians:
According to English-language paper Daily Sabah, Hatice Yücel, chairman of the Women’s Branch of the party’s Eyup district, said that the district organization was taking the necessary steps to discharge Aktas and her views as shared on social media did not reflect the party’s views.
Yücel expressed her condolences to the victims and wished for a quick recovery for the wounded.
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