Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the main opposition, Republican People’s Party (CHP), of paving the way for the recent attack on its party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Gazete Duvar news portal reported on Sunday.
During his closing speech at the 28th Consultation and Assessment Meeting of AK Party (AKP) in Ankara’s Kizilcahamam district on Sunday, Erdogan put the blame on CHP for the attack that targeted its leader during a fallen soldier’s funeral last week.
Kilicdaroglu was attacked in Ankara’s Cubuk district by dozens of men at the funeral of Private Yener Kirikci, who died in a clash between the Turkish army and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in what party members call a “lynch attempt” against their leader.
“We [AKP] condemn the attack explicitly. What we protest is the harassment, terror allegations and insults the relatives of the fallen soldier and people of the [Cubuk] district face,” Erdogan said, referring to CHP’s terrorism accusations.
A day after the attack on Kilicdaroglu, CHP Deputy Chairman Aykut Erdogdu accused the perpetrators of being members of a terrorist organization on his official Twitter account.
“Those who attacked our chairman in an attempt to lynch him are ignoble terrorists who [actually] attacked this country’s national unity. This ignoble mob has unity of purpose with separatist terrorists. I damn this ignoble mob. We will not give this country up to them,” Erdogdu said.
Referring to CHP’s cooperation with the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) during the local elections, the president added: “Those who attacked you are those whom you walked arm in arm with and no one else.” Erdogan underlined that what led to last week’s attack was CHP’s having a common purpose with the pro-Kurdish HDP during the local elections on March 31.
“We say: If you collaborated with a party in command of a terrorist organization, you would make our martyrs turn in their graves. They [CHP members] claim that we are legitimizing the incident [attack on Kilicdaroglu],” Erdogan further said.
As part of its political strategy in western Turkey, HDP sat out of the mayoral races in large cities and urged its supporters to cast strategic votes for the Nation Alliance formed by the secular opposition CHP and nationalist opposition IYI (Good) Party.
Partly due to that strategy, CHP was able to defeat AKP’s candidate and won the mayoral race in Istanbul, the city where Erdogan’s political career began as mayor in the 1990s.
Turkey accuses the HDP of having links with PKK, an armed militant group listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, that has been fighting for self-rule in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region of Turkey for more than 30 years.
Although HDP denies the allegations, several party seniors, including the co-chair Selahattin Demirtas, have been in prison on various charges that include “managing a terrorist organization”.
“CHP administration is different to those citizens who voted for the party. We should realize that,” Erdogan stated, putting the blame on his party for not being able to attract CHP’s voters in the local elections.
“We are obliged to examine ourselves for failing to reach those citizens [who voted for other parties], express ourselves and receive their support,” Erdogan added.