Turkey’s opposition has accused Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu of being the instigator behind an attack targeting Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıcdaroglu in Ankara.
The Gazete Duvar website reported on Monday that the CHP – – Turkey’s largest opposition party – – blamed Soylu for the attack on Kılıcdaroglu during a soldier’s funeral in Ankara’s Cubuk district.
They cited Soylu’s previous inflammatory remarks targeting the party.
The attack on Kılıcdaroglu followed his party’s showing at the March 31 local government elections, which saw the CHP take control in Turkey’s big cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, in a stinging blow to the ruling AK Party.
Dozens of men, some of whom were shouting “shame on you” and “God damn you,” on Sunday attacked Kılıcdaroglu, who was hit on the head at least twice although numerous police officers and gendarmerie were present during the funeral prayer.
The soldier had been killed in a clash between the Turkish army and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Good Party (IP) released a statement on the attack on Saturday and said: “Due to the order of the person, who holds the office of the interior minister, this situation is no longer a subject of politics, but of the judiciary.”
“Because this person [Soylu] committed the crime of instigation in this attack. It must be known that nobody has the right to decrease the level of a minister’s office to the level of an instigator,” IP said in its statement.
Soylu said in 2018 that he had ordered governors to keep officials of the secularist CHP out of soldiers’ funerals, recommending its members to attend PKK militants’ funerals instead.
Not regarded as a minister
When asked about IP’s Soylu reference regarding the attack, Kılıcdaroglu told Gazete Duvar on Monday that his party does not identify him as an interior minister.
“Because an interior minister is supposed to take all kinds of measures to establish peace in Turkey. If a person holds that office but separates, polarizes and antagonizes people at the same time, he cannot be identified as an interior minister,” he said.
Kılıcdaroglu also stated that Sunday’s attack was a result of a serious security gap, adding that time will show whether it is deliberate or not.
CHP’s deputy chair Yildirim Kaya, who was near the party leader during the attack, pointed out that aggressors were not from the Cubuk district, where the funeral was held.
“Although there seemed to be a number of security officers at the funeral, none of them headed towards us to provide protection. It was obvious that the attack was organized. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu should resign from his post immediately,” Deutsche Welle Turkish cited Kaya as saying.
The hashtag #KilicdarogluYalnizDegildir (Kilicdaroglu is not alone) became a trending topic on Twitter, after a video from the attack went viral and sparked outrage on social media.
Critics claim that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli’s rough discourse, as well as Soylu’s furious remarks, during the election period that aligned opposition parties with the outlawed PKK paved the way for Sunday’s attack.
Turkey deems PKK, an armed militant group that has waged an insurgency in southeastern Turkey for decades, to be a terrorist organization.