CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu attacked during fallen soldier’s funeral

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu attacked during fallen soldier’s funeral

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu attacked during fallen soldier’s funeral

A mob attacked main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on April 21 during the funeral of a fallen Turkish soldier in Ankara.

The group chanted slogans against the outlawed PKK before attacking Kılıçdaroğlu at the funeral of Private Yener Kırıkcı in the Çubuk district of Ankara who was among soldiers killed in clashes with the PKK on the Turkish-Iraqi border on April 19.

Camera footage showed the mob trying to punch and kick the politician. A video of the incident showed the CHP leader hit on the head at least twice as a clutch of security guards attempted to keep dozens of shouting and fist-pumping men away.

Kılıçdaroğlu was later taken to a house by security members to avoid any further attacks. The group then gathered outside the house chanting “PKK out” and was forced to disperse by security officials. The politician was removed from the house by armored vehicle nearly one hour later before arriving at the CHP headquarters.

The Ankara Governor’s Office on its Twitter account said necessary measures were taken to “prevent the protest” against Kılıçdaroğlu. The governor’s office also reported that legal proceedings were initiated. The Ankara chief prosecutor also reported that a “terror” investigation was launched.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who was also present at the funeral, arrived at the house after the attack, also telling the group to calm down. “We’re evacuating this place. My brothers, you have given your messages, showed your reactions, now we’re evacuating this place easefully. Now we are moving to the house of Yener [the martyred soldier].”

The attack comes weeks after the CHP won the local elections in Ankara and Istanbul, ousting the ruling party which ran the cities for more than two decades.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials condemned the attack, with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu calling it “unacceptable” on his Twitter account.

Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül also condemned the attack, saying that the AKP will not allow violence to “cast a shadow on democratic politics.”

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said the attack was unacceptable and has launched an investigation into it.

“We condemn all types of violence,” party spokesman Ömer Çelik said, adding that the perpetrators will be found and held accountable for their crime.

Four Turkish soldiers who were killed on April 19 during military operations in the Turkey-Iraq border area were laid to rest on April 21.

Six soldiers were also wounded during the operations in the southeastern province of Hakkari, the Defense Ministry said in a statement early April 20.

The ministry had initially announced that two soldiers had been killed but later said that two other soldiers had succumbed to their injuries at a hospital.
The statement said the militants came under heavy fire from Turkish air operations and fire support.

The Turkish military frequently conducts operations against the illegal PKK, a group listed as terrorist by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, in the area.