Turkish mob attacks opposition boss
Thugs threw punches at Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu (pictured), who was unharmed. His security escorted him away from Sunday’s funeral in a village near Ankara and a crowd surrounded a house where he was taken for safety.
Kilicdaroglu had to be driven away in an armoured vehicle.
CHP MP Levent Gök claimed Kilicdaroglu was deliberately directed towards the mob.
“There were protests since we arrived,” Gök said. “Then, we were steered towards those aggressive groups.”
“We were vulnerable to attack. Punches, kicks. The distance to the chairman became around 200 metres, we couldn’t go back to the vehicle.
“It was a very organised action,” he said. “The group was positioned in three or four different places.”
Infantryman Yener Kırıkçı, 26, was among four troops killed on Saturday in fighting with alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near the Iraqi border.
The group is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and European Union.
The PKK has waged an insurgency for autonomy in Turkey’s oppressed, largely Kurdish southeast since 1984.
The CHP took control of Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul during municipal elections on March 31.
The new CHP mayor of Ankara, Mansur Yavaş, was also attacked.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s populist Justice and Development Party ran a divisive election campaign, depicting the city elections as an issue of national security and equating the opposition to terrorists.
A rally was organised in Istanbul to celebrate the CHP mayoral candidate’s win, which ended Erdogan’s 25-year hold on the city of 15 million.
The ruling party, which has suffered a blow to its popularity because of Turkey’s economic woes, is now seeking a rerun of the Istanbul election, claiming widespread irregularities.
Turkey’s election commission is considering the Justice and Development’s appeal.
Ekrem Imamoglu, 48, who was confirmed as mayor last Wednesday, has taken a conciliatory tone, promising to bring people together following the polarising campaign.
Ankara’s chief prosecutor, Yuksel Kocaman, said six attackers were identified and investigators are looking into whether the incident was terror-related, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
“The incident is under control… Investigations started,” said interior minister Suleyman Soylu. Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said violence would not be allowed to cast a shadow over democratic politics.
Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Picture credit: Wikimedia