Erdoğan aide says assailants of opposition leader cannot be treated as ‘terrorists’

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Fahrettin Altun, the head of the communications department of the Turkish presidency, has said a group of people who attacked the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader at a soldier’s funeral on Sunday cannot be treated as terrorists, the T24 news website reported on Monday.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was physically attacked on Sunday by a group at the funeral of a Turkish soldier in Ankara who was killed by terrorists the week before.

One of the assailants, Osman Sarıgün, was arrested on Monday.

Altun tweeted that the right to demonstrate is under constitutional guarantee in Turkey, adding, “We can never accept the treatment of our citizens as terrorists who protested the CHP leader due to the language he used and alliances he made during the elections.”

The pro-government media have been attacking CHP politicians for making an alliance in the local elections with the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling party depict as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), despite the fact that it is represented in the Turkish parliament.

Altun, a former columnist for the pro-government Sabah newspaper, was appointed to his current position by Erdoğan in July 2018.

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