LONDON (CBS DC) – A top Turkish government official says his injuries are so extensive that he must take a medical leave of absence, reports the Hurriyet Daily News.
Yusef Yerkel, the top aide to Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won’t say if the injuries came when he kicked and punched a protester who was being held down by Turkish soldiers on May 14th.
Yerkel was diagnosed with soft tissue trauma and given seven days medical leave.
“There are 10×10 cm oedema, bruises and soft tissue panicula on the right knee, and bruises and soft tissue panicula on the left shoulder and front of the chest. The patient has been diagnosed with soft tissue trauma as there is sensitivity with leg and arm movements and difficulty with walking,” the report said according to Hurriyet news.
The incident sparked international outrage after video and pictures of the kicking incident went viral.
Witnesses said two soldiers were holding down and interrogating a protester after he kicked an official car belonging to the convoy of the prime minister
Yerkel rushed at the man and kicked him “three or four times”, according to reports.
Prime Minister Erdogan has been the focus of public anger since a mine collapsed in western Turkey, killing at least 300 people.
Protesters say the government did nothing to prevent the tragedy and that Erdogan has been insensitive to the grief of the families; for example he told grieving family members of the Soma mine disaster that “these types of incidents are ordinary things.”
The image of Yerkel kicking a protester who was down on the ground has only fueled anger and gave critics more justification for their charge that the government has been neglecting the safety of miners.
For his part, Yerkel has refused to apologize to his victim and accused the protesters of “provocations and insults” that could not be ignored. “I have been deeply saddened by the incident that occurred in Soma on May 14. I am sorry for being unable to keep calm despite all of the provocations, insults and attacks I faced on that day,” he said, according to Anadolu Agency.
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