In a show of intimidation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Ali Arıkan, deputy governor of the southeastern province of Şırnak, posed for the camera on Friday in a house burnt down during clashes between the Turkish Armed Forces and PKK militants, resulting in widespread reaction from social media users across the country.
Arıkan posted the photo on his personal Instagram account. The deputy governor was mocked by many for wearing a coat and sunglasses like Neo from “The Matrix,” a science fiction movie about heroes who fight a desperate war against machine overlords that have enslaved humanity.
Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with jailed PKK chief Abdullah Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015.
Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces.
More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.