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Turkey’s interior minister denies responsibility for assault on opposition leader

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Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has rejected calls for his resignation after main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was physically attacked during a soldier’s funeral, the Artı Gerçek news website reported on Monday.

Soylu claimed that the incident was the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) fault for aligning itself with terrorism.

“Going into partnership with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is the political branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and then blaming the events on the interior minister is a symptom of memory loss,” Soylu said.

On Sunday Kılıçdaroğlu was assaulted by a group during the funeral of a soldier who was killed in a PKK attack.

Soylu claimed the authorities were not notified of Kılıçdaroğlu’s participation in the funeral and that they would have taken specific measures if they had been.

“We would have taken into account the rapprochement between the HDP and CHP and its psychological ramifications when taking measures,” he said.

In response to calls for his resignation from the CHP, Soylu said: “I am prepared to pay the price for my service to my country. It’s up to our president to settle it.”

The CHP called on Soylu to resign, claiming that the attack was intended to kill Kılıçdaroğlu.

He also denied allegations that the assailants were brought in from outside.

“We looked in to it and found no exterior provocation. We found that the man who punched Kılıçdaroğlu was a relative of our martyr,” he said.

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