Ankara mayor's bizarre sexist post
Ankara mayor's bizarre sexist post Screenshot

The mayor of Turkey's capital city Ankara has stirred up controversy after trolling a senior US government spokesperson, calling her "a stupid blond".

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek posted the sexist message on his Twitter account on Tuesday, in a bizarre attack on US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

The tweet includes a picture of American riot police beating a rioter in Baltimore during recent violence there, alongside a picture of Harf. The caption beneath reads: "Where are you, stupid blond, who said the Turkish police are using disproportionate force?”

Gökçek accompanied the image with his own message - in full capitals and in both Turkish and English - saying: "COME ON BLONDE ANSWER NOW" 

According to Turkish news outlet Today'sZamanGökçek "is known for his obsessive trolling of journalists and critics on Twitter" - although his blatantly sexist outburst against a senior US official is unprecedented.

Apart from the sexist overtones of his message, the post was meant as a jab at the US government, which criticized Turkey's Islamist AKP government for its brutal crackdown on political dissent, particularly during the bloody "Gezi Park" protests and subsequent demonstrations in the summer of 2013.

Turkish officials have repeatedly used images from the Baltimore riots to justify their own government's wider crackdown on its opponents, which has included several prolonged bans on social media and jailing people for posting articles critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to Today's Zaman, "Harf said she would not dignify mayor's remarks with a response when asked what she thinks about the offensive statements that targeted her personally."

Of the Baltimore riots, however, she said simply: "I would put our record here in the US that openly, transparently addressing challenges when we have here at home up against any other country on the planet.

"That is a record of transparency and self-reflection."

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