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Former AKP deputy criticizes request to dismiss CHP leader’s assailant from party

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A former deputy from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has criticized a request to dismiss Osman Sarıgün, an AKP member who punched an opposition leader at a martyr’s funeral, from the party.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was assaulted on Sunday by an angry mob during the funeral of a Turkish soldier who was killed in a clash with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists.

After the incident in Ankara’s Çubuk district, Sarıgün was arrested and later released pending trial, a decision that drew heavy criticism from the opposition.

An AKP spokesman previously announced that Sarıgün had been referred to the party’s disciplinary committee with a request to dismiss.

“I spoke with Osman [Sarıgün] of Çubuk on the phone last night, conveying our nation’s sorrow [about his arrest],” former deputy Metin Külünk tweeted on Wednesday.

“The request to dismiss him from the party is against common sense. Our nation objects to this request,” Külünk said.

After attracting criticism on social media, Külünk claimed that Kılıçdaroğlu had called PKK terrorists “friends.”

Due to the support of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for Turkey’s opposition alliance in recent local elections, the ruling AKP suffered heavy losses in big cities, including İstanbul, Ankara and Antalya.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling party officials usually refer to HDP deputies as having ties with the PKK, although the former is a legitimate party in the Turkish parliament.

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