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CHP leader says Erdoğan, gov’t responsible for funeral attack

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) (Evrim Aydin / Anadolu Agency)

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Thursday called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) to condemn an attack on the funeral of Hatun Tuğluk, mother of jailed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Aysel Tuğluk, saying Erdoğan and government are responsible for the attack, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.

The body of Hatun Tuğluk was removed from the grave on Wednesday after an attack carried out by an ultranationalist group during her funeral in Ankara. According to reports, the ultranationalist group said they would not let “Kurds, Alevis or Armenians be buried in the cemetery.”

“The government is responsible for what happened because they run the state with enmity and hatred,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

“This is inhumane. The biggest reaction must come from the Religious Affairs Directorate. The president and prime minister must condemn the attack and call it ‘inhumane.’ We have never before seen or heard about a person not being able to be buried and taken to another cemetery due to opposition against it,” added Kılıçdaroğlu.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ on Thursday called the attack on the funeral of Hatun Tuğluk “unacceptable.”

“This is a very ugly behavior. It is a disrespectful behavior not consistent with our civilization and belief,” he said.

According to reports, the body of Hatun Tuğluk, who passed away on Tuesday, was taken to İncek Cemetery in Ankara’s Batıkent district. The HDP’s Aysel Tuğluk attended the funeral with special permission from Kandıra Prison in Kocaeli province, where she is incarcerated. Some 50 ultranationalists who had gathered in the cemetery attacked the funeral, saying: “We have martyrs in this cemetery. We will not allow terrorists to be buried here.”

Following the attack, the body of Hatun Tuğluk was removed from the grave and again taken to a morgue. She will now be buried in Tunceli province.

Kurdish politician Sırrı Sakık, who also attended the funeral, criticized the government for not taking adequate security measures since they were under attack for a long time in the cemetery. Sakık said the ultranationalist group insisted that they would not let “Kurds, Alevis or Armenians be buried in the cemetery.”

HDP deputy Mithat Sancar said he could not reach the governor of Ankara for 40 minutes after the attack started, underlining that no additional police forces were sent to the cemetery despite the growing number of assailants.

In a statement on Twitter the HDP said the government is responsible for the attack due to its polarizing attitudes in society.

The Ankara Governor’s Office on Thursday said they had launched an investigation into the racist attack at the funeral of Hatun Tuğluk.

The Ankara Governor’s Office said in its statement that security measures were taken by police against the ultranationalist group and that Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu personally went to the cemetery and spoke with HDP politicians.

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