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An angry mob featuring a member of Turkey’s Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) attempted to beat and “lynch” secular opposition party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during a soldier’s funeral Sunday.
Video of the event shows Kılıçdaroğlu receiving blows to the head while men shout “God damn you” in Turkish, injuring the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader before security guards whisked him away.
President - Recep - Tayyip - Erdogan - AKP
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the AKP condemned the attack, and the party expelled Osman Sarıgün, an official member, for participating in the beating.
Kılıçdaroğlu was attending the funeral of 26-year-old soldier Yener Kırıkçı in Ankara. Kırıkçı died in a confrontation with members of the Marxist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), according to officials. The PKK is a U.S.-designated terrorist group the Turkish government has spent years fighting in the nation’s largely Kurdish south at great expense to the local civilian population.
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The mob attacking Kılıçdaroğlu appeared to identify him as a PKK sympathizer, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper. The men chanted “PKK out” upon identifying the opposition leader at the funeral, then began shouting “God damn you” and “shame on you” while attempting to beat him. Reuters states that video shows “Kilicdaroglu was hit on the head at least twice” before security extracted him from the area.
Kılıçdaroğlu survived a PKK attack in 2016:
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Hurriyet reported that authorities took Kılıçdaroğlu to a home near the funeral before extracting him safely. Erdogan’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met Kılıçdaroğlu and offered assurances for his safety.
Following the attack, Kılıçdaroğlu vowed to continue attending funerals for Turkish soldiers.
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“What they want is that I do not attend the funerals of martyrs, but I will,” he told a crowd that had formed in front of the CHP headquarters in Ankara. “These martyrs belong to 82 million. They respect neither the funeral, nor the call to prayer. What do you...
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