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Turkish Protesters Turn Erdogan Insult To Their Favor

Some of Istanbul's Taksim Square reporters have reacted with humor to being called "bums" by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (file photo)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused by Taksim Square protesters of attempting to resurrect a brand of social conservatism not seen since the days before Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded modern Turkey.

But few expected him to bring an ancient -- in Internet terms anyway -- meme back to life.

In dismissing demonstrators earlier this week, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader called the protesters "capulcu," a Turkish word, pronounced cha-put-DZHU that translates loosely as “bums” or "layabouts."

Unbeknown to Erdogan, who may not be up on the memes of the day, when the letters “ing” are added to capulcu, and the "cu" is deleted, a new word that can be loosely described as rhyming with “shuffling” is created. (Thanks to Arzu Geybulla, a blogger, for the explanation.)

This obviously created ample room for a remake of “Everyday I’m shufflin',” the catchphrase from the 2011 video by hip hop group LMFAO.

One video version of the “Every Day I’m Capulling” meme includes a moonwalker in a gas mask, a successful crowd "wave," a man cooling off, apparently under the force of police water cannons, the obligatory penguin, and a drum circle.

No obvious signs of bums though.

WATCH: "Every Day I'm Capulling"

-- Glenn Kates

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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