Interior Minister Soylu bars attendance of CHP officials at martyrs’ funerals

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TRABZON, TURKEY - AUGUST 12: Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu carries the coffin of 15-year-old boy Eren Bulbul martyred by PKK terrorists, during the funeral ceremony in Macka Province of Trabzon, Turkey on August 12, 2017. Eren Bulbul died from gunshot wounds sustained as he helped gendarmes track PKK members in Macka, a town 22 kilometers (14 miles) south of the Black Sea city of Trabzon, on Friday. Hakan Burak Altunoz / Anadolu Agency

Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Thursday he gave orders to provincial governors to prevent the attendance of Republican People’s Party (CHP) officials at the funerals of martyrs, the T24 news website reported.

Soylu was speaking to journalists during a visit to the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Esenler branch in İstanbul.

An official ceremony is held by governors in the hometown of soldiers killed during military operations, attended by local administration figures as well as party officials.

“There is only one place for them to go,” Soylu said, adding that CHP officials could attend the funerals of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, for whom the Interior Ministry occasionally allows services to be held by the families.

“If they are together at the ballot box, then they will be together at funerals,” Soylu said, referring to the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) surpassing of the 10 percent election threshold to enter parliament with the support of CHP voters in metropolitan areas.

In response to Soylu, CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan said he should quit his job.

During a martyr’s funeral on Thursday in Bursa province, a group of people damaged a wreath from the CHP’s Bursa branch, and police later removed it from the funeral venue.

Soylu also acknowledged that he called HDP Co-chair Pervin Buldan after the murder of a shopkeeper in Ağrı province, allegedly by PKK militants.

“We will teach your place. You have no right to live in this country, you can go wherever you want,” Soylu said, according to Buldan’s press conference yesterday.

“Yes I called her. What I said was more, not less [than this],” Soylu said today.

The Sözcü daily reported on Thursday that Interior Minister Soylu ordered police to withdraw its protective detail for Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu after the election as a move against the opposition.

An Islamist politician, Karamollaoğlu received much criticism from AKP supporters for forming an alliance with the CHP and İYİ (Good) Party against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Karamollaoğlu called the order “simple minded.”

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