Turkey’s Erdoğan uses martyrs for politics, opposition says

Turkey’s opposition criticised President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for making a political speech at the funeral of a soldier killed during Turkish military operations in Syria.

Erdoğan, who is also the leader of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), delivered a speech in a mosque in Ankara at the funeral of Sergeant Musa Özalkan, who was killed in Syria on Jan. 22.

Veli Ağbaba, the deputy chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was quoted by Cumhuriyet newspaper as saying:

“The leader of AKP put his hand on the coffin of our martyr and delivered a political speech. We condemn those who politicise martyrdom, which should be left out of politics.”

The CHP supports Turkey’s military’s offensive against Kurdish militia in the northwestern Syrian enclave of Afrin that began on Saturday.


Doğu Perinçek, the leader of the left-wing nationalist Patriotic Party, also criticised Erdoğan’s speech at the funeral of Özalkan.

Erdoğan was given the microphone in the mosque right after the funeral prayers, Perinçek wrote in his party’s newspaper Aydınlık.

“Making politics in the mosque is a serious mistake,” Perinçek wrote.

If Erdoğan uses national victories for political gains, he will lose support even from his own party, and feed his critics who say the Afrin offensive is not for the homeland, Perinçek said.