CHP leader says assault on provincial leader ‘blow to democracy’

CHP leader says assault on provincial leader ‘blow to democracy’

DÜZCE – Doğan News Agency
CHP leader says assault on provincial leader ‘blow to democracy’

DHA photo

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has described the March 26 attack on the party’s provincial leader in the northern province of Düzce as “a blow” to Turkish democracy.

“If our provincial leader is being attacked like this in the middle of a street in the 21st century’s Turkey, this is one of the blows to our democracy. We can never accept this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on March 28, at a press conference in the province.

Düzce CHP provincial head Zekeriya Tozan was attacked on March 26 by two members of the pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) Ottoman Help and Solidarity association, who during the attack shouted at Tozan, “You are a traitor.” 

Meanwhile, the head of the association, İsa Üçüncüoğlu, shared a video purporting the attack on his Facebook account with the caption “Traitor in Düzce.” Üçüncüoğlu and the two assailants, identified as Cihan Cengiz and Raşit Arslanaydın, were arrested by a court on March 27, while Tozan claimed that the attack was politically motivated.

After wishing Tozan a speedy recovery, Kılıçdaroğlu said that the attack was aimed directly at the CHP.

“We will follow this [attack]; we will follow its perpetrators. We will also follow the legal process. I hope Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu follows it as well. We are giving our fight for democracy, our fight for human rights... With what reason are these lumpen people attacking our provincial leader? Is it because he defends justice here? Is it because he goes after corruption? Is it because he walks freely on the streets and fields of this country? We are faced with a period of pressure. They think, ‘We have beaten your provincial head, so you cannot raise your voice anymore.’ On the contrary, no force can discourage us,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

Meanwhile, 13 lawmakers from the CHP, including Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Levent Gök, visited Tozan on March 28, marched through downtown Düzce to protest the assault and held a press briefing.