Apr 21 2019

Turkey's ruling party comes under fire on social media over attack against opposition leader

The ruling party has faced a storm of criticism on Sunday after Turkey's main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was attacked by a group of people at a military funeral in Ankara's Çubuk district. 

Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar on Sunday arrived where the incident took place and spoke to the crowds protesting the Republican People's Party (CHP) leader. "My sisters and brothers from Çubuk, you gave your message, you reacted, now we will leave this area in peace," Akar said. His comments have also been on the target of the critiques.

CHP Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu on Sunday addressed Akar on Twitter and said his words were legitimising the attack and defending the perpetrators. 

"We will bring everyone who encourages these attackers to account politically and legally," Tanrıkulu said. 

CHP's former presidential candidate on June 24 elections, Muharrem İnce, said the forces behind the attack were obvious, referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials.

Journalist Savash Porgham said these kinds of incidents take place when the ruling party loses. 

"By the way, why every act of violence and "provocation" take place when the ruling party loses in the recent years?" asked Porgham. "Are these all perfect coincidences?"

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) also denounced the aggression against the CHP leader in a statement released on Twitter. "The governing alliance which is using hate speech and creating tension as polarising the society has caused this attack," HDP said. 

In the aftermath of the incident, thousands of social media users posted tweets requesting the interior minister Süleyman Soylu's resignation. #Soyluİstifa (SoyluResign) rises to trending topic on Twitter on Turkey agenda. 

Last year, following the general election on June 24, Soylu requested from governors and provincial officials not to welcome the CHP representatives to the military funerals as accusing the party of making an alliance with the HDP in the elections, which was linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) by several AKP officials. The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency for self-rule on Turkish soil. 


CHP spokesman Faik Öztrak said in a written statement on Sunday that the governor of Ankara and Soylu must resign due to their previous statements what he said was encouraging the attackers, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported. 

"The attack was not a provocation. It was rather an organised action," Öztrak said. "The abettors of this attack are obvious."

In the meantime, the man who attacked Kılıçdaroğlu was identified after an investigation, according to Cumhuriyet. The police and the gendarmerie are seeking the aggressor Osman Sarıgül. Sarıgül, according to the same report from Akkuzulu village where the incident occurred.