Erdoğan changes tune on Suruç 'terrorists'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has changed his tune on the three family members killed during a fight with the entourage of a deputy from Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Erdoğan wished “God’s mercy” on the four killed, including the three members of the Şenyaşar family, during a rally in Şanlıurfa, the province where their fight with a group of AKP Urfa deputy İbrahim Halil Yıldız took place. Yıldız’s brother, the Mehmet Yıldız was also killed in the incident.

“The Turkish Republic is a state of law. The incident is being investigated by security officers and the judiciary, everything will be made clear and the guilty parties will answer to a court of law,” Erdoğan told the crowd.

Yet just days ago the president, AKP officials and cabinet ministers seemed had appeared certain of the culprites, accused the Şenyaşar family of being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist-designated organisation in Turkey, and said they had conducted a premeditated attack on the Yıldız group.

Reports, including camera footage have since emerged from Suruç, the Şanlıurfa town where the incident took place, painting a very different image of events.

Yıldız’s group reportedly entered the shop owned by the Şenyaşars, a family well-known as supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and began a discussion which video footage shows turning into a heated argument.

The Şenyaşars forcefulyl kicked the group out of their shop, before the violence erupted in earnest, leaving Mehmet Yıldız and Adil Şenyaşar dead of gunshot wounds at the scene. Adil’s brother Celal Şenyaşar died of his wounds at the hospital, where their father Esvet Şenyaşar was reportedly killed by AKP supporters when he arrived to see his son.

Police intervened on the brothers’ funeral with tear gas, taking into custody several attendees including HDP politician Nazlı Binici.