Fact-finding mission claims premeditated provocation in assault on opposition leader

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A fact-finding mission carried out by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) claims to have revealed that an attack on Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in a remote village of Ankara province was pre-planned, the Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

The mission was launched by the CHP after Kılıçdaroğlu was physically attacked at a soldier’s funeral on Sunday.

The group seeks to determine if people other than those already under investigation by the prosecutor took part in the incident.

While the prosecution is looking into the role of 37 people, mainly villagers, the fact-finding group has reportedly revealed that 15 other individuals came from outside the village to provoke and direct the crowd.

The group also discovered some site preparation according to Kılıçdaroğlu’s planned itinerary, with stones piled up at several locations and large barrels positioned in order to block vehicular traffic. Video footage shows some of those involved gathering stones from the piles as soon as the altercation started.

Another individual was spotted distributing sticks to the crowd from the rooftop of a building.

Others were seen steering the worked-up crowd, such as one young man who pointed out Kılıçdaroğlu’s vehicle to a woman with a big rock in her hands.

It was also claimed that some of the assailants were employees of the Ankara Municipality.

Another discovery was that it was not one person but a group that tried to get the crowd to burn down the building in which Kılıçdaroğlu took shelter. A video in which a woman exclaims, “Burn down that house,” was shared many times on social media. However, the report claims that another one to be soon submitted to the prosecutor’s office involves a group trying to get the crowd to set the building on fire.

The fact-finders also claim that a passage opened for ruling party members when the incident started was not made available to Kılıçdaroğlu.

Three hundred gendarmes and 152 police officers who were at the scene failed to intervene. The angry crowd was held back by Kılıçdaroğlu’s bodyguards and CHP members for around 30 minutes.

CHP executives blamed Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu for the attack, while Soylu denied responsibility and claimed it was Kılıçdaroğlu’s fault for participating in the funeral in disregard of public sentiment.

One of the attackers who was seen punching Kılıçdaroğlu during the incident was briefly arrested before being released on Tuesday.

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