Turkey's main opposition leader files criminal complaint over attack at soldier’s funeral

The leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on Tuesday filed a legal complaint against suspects who attacked him while attending a funeral for a soldier killed during clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), left-wing Artı Gerçek news site reported.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who has pushed and punched by angry mob on Sunday in the Çubuk district of capital Ankara, submitted the complaint petition to the prosecution. 

The 70-year-old opposition leader was attending the funeral of 26-year-old infantryman Yener Kırıkçı alongside the new CHP mayor of Ankara, Mansur Yavaş, on Sunday when he was booed by a group of people at the funeral and then attacked afterwards as security personnel led him through the crowd.

Nine suspects, including a woman, were taken into custody for allegedly throwing stones at the official car of the CHP leader during the funeral.

Eight of the suspects were later released, while one man, accused of punching Kılıçdaroğlu, remains in police custody.

Main opposition CHP has also requested a parliamentary inquiry into the incident, which calls for an investigation into the security and intelligence vulnerabilities during the incident, where top government, military and security officials were present.

Kılıçdaroğlu on Sunday said the attack was pre-planned, however, the officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have denied any prior knowledge.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that Kılıçdaroğlu’s recent “contacts” with the Kurdish party (HDP) made him a target. Soylu, who last year made a statement demanding the barring of CHP politicians from soldiers’ funerals, faced widespread criticism on social media for laying the foundations for the attack on Kılıçdaroğlu.

Ankara maintains the HDP has links to the PKK, an armed group that has been in war in Turkey for over 30 years.

The ruling AKP accuses the main opposition CHP of indirectly supporting the PKK by unofficially joining forces with the pro-Kurdish party ahead of the March 31 local elections.