Turkey’s Interior Minister blames CHP’s presidential candidate over deadly clash in election tour
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu raised eyebrows by blaming the main opposition Republican People Party’s (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce over an armed clash during an election tour of a delegation from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa.
“I am saying it very clearly: The reason and the enabler of the Suruç incident is Muharrem İnce,” Soylu said on June 16 during his visit to the AKP’s Beşiktaş district headquarters in Istanbul.
The delegation, led by AKP MP İbrahim Yıldız, was visiting local shopkeepers in Suruç on June 14, 10 days before the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
A group of shopkeepers initially engaged in a heated argument with the AKP delegation, which eventually turned violent. Guns and clubs were used in the ensuing clash, reports said.
Yıldız claimed that the brawl started after the opposing group told the delegation that “they support the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK” and asked why AKP members went there despite knowing this.
Four people, including a brother of Yıldız, were killed and eight, including four other brothers of Yıldız, were reportedly injured.
Local media reported that other casualties were people linked to the local affiliate of the HDP.
On June 16, Soylu said security camera footage confirmed Yıldız’s statement, accusing the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of “becoming the servant of the PKK.”
“But there is someone who spoils [the HDP] and it is Muharrem İnce, who represents the very understanding that sets them apart from politics and closer to violence,” he said, blasting the CHP candidate’s visit to the HDP’s jailed presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş.