Turkish fashion designer Barbaros Sansal was attacked by a group of an angry mob on the airport apron as he got off a Turkish Airlines plane in Istanbul.
Sansal arrived in Istanbul late on Monday after breakaway Turkish Cyprus deported the designer over a video in which he was seen mocking New Year’s Eve celebrations at a time when Turkey turned into a “shithole.”
“While so many journalists are imprisoned, so many kids are sexually harassed and raped, and the corruption is rampant … are you still celebrating the New Year?” Sansal said in the video he posted. The designer shared the video hours before the shooting in Istanbul’s iconic Reina nightclub, where at least 39 people were killed. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
After the video was shared on Twitter, Turkish Cyprus detained Sansal and deported him to Turkey. It was not clear if it was Ankara who requested the deportation and if it was actually an informal extradition.
As soon as the fashion designer got off the plane, a mob started swearing at Sansal and attacked him, according to the footage published by the Turkish media. Some of the people attacked him were wearing red and yellow jackets, an attire that is worn by airport tarmac staff. It was not clear who let others who attacked the designer all the way to the apron and how they evaded the security.
Sansal escaped the mob and helped by his escorts, believed to be the police in plainclothes, and was driven away.
An outspoken critic of the Turkish government, Sansal was living in Cyprus for some time.