Turkey's Erdogan threatens to 'ban the ban' on his electoral film

ANKARA Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:20pm GMT

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) attends a ceremony marking the 99th anniversary of the end of the Gallipoli campaign in Gallipoli, March 18, 2014, as he is flanked by officials. REUTERS/Stringer

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) attends a ceremony marking the 99th anniversary of the end of the Gallipoli campaign in Gallipoli, March 18, 2014, as he is flanked by officials.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to "ban a ban" imposed on his party's main campaign video after electoral authorities blocked it for misusing national symbols.

The Supreme Electoral Board said the use of the red Turkish flag in the slickly produced minute-long advert, which has appeared on major TV channels, websites and social media, breached campaign guidelines for the March 30 municipal elections.

"Then we will ban that. We will bring a ban to the ban," an infuriated Erdogan was quoted as saying by several Turkish newspapers following a campaign rally late on Wednesday in the northwestern city of Tekirdag.

Erdogan is battling a corruption scandal which he has cast as a plot to undermine him by U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally whose network of followers exert influence in the police and judiciary. Gulen denies orchestrating the graft investigation.

The video plays on Erdogan's views on a plot, showing a shadowy figure cutting the cords on a huge Turkish flag, before loyal citizens rush to form a human flagpole to keep it flying, as a voice recites the words of the national anthem.

Two of the country's main opposition parties lodged complaints about the film, according to the Hurriyet daily.

(Reporting by Jonny Hogg, Editing by Humeyra Pamuk and Nick Tattersall Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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