Republican People’s Party (CHP) has issued a report revealing that the attack against party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in April during the funeral procession of a Turkish soldier was “an organised provocation”, reported Turkish website Artı Gerçek.
Kılıçdaroğlu had been punched and had rocks thrown at his car during the funeral in the capital Ankara’s Çubuk district. The opposition leader had risked a public lynching when a group of attendees riled up the crowd, as documented in videos and photographs at the time.
CHP’s Deputy Group Chairperson Engin Özkoç led an investigation into the lynching attempt, and found that 15 suspects in the case were employed as drivers in the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality. Municipal employees were also found to have organised transport for the group that incited the incident, according to CHP’s report.
The capital’s municipality had been governed by the same mayor since 1994, who joined the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2003 and remained in his seat until he resigned in 2017 on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s request.
Opposition candidate Mansur Yavaş had won the mayor’s seat 15 days before the incident.
CHP’s report on the incident noted that the time and place of the soldier’s funeral was changed to coincide with a rally by Ekrem İmamoğlu, who had recently won the mayoral race in the nation’s biggest city Istanbul and received his mandate four days before the incident following controversy about election results.
“Following the funeral prayers, all politicians were supposed to move behind the casket, but members of the government were taken away from a security corridor from the opposite direction, going against state customs. Only Kılıçdaroğlu and CHP members were left behind the casket, and they had no security detail. They were pushed into an out-of-control crowd,” said the report.
The soldiers that were to protect Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu were seen occasionally to step aside to let attackers through, it said.
The crowd that gathered in front of the house Kılıçdaroğlu went into did not receive any intervention from the 700 security guards in the area, according to the report.
The report continued to state that the police chief who stood in front of the house and addressed the angry crowd, saying they would have to lynch him and all other police officers present was removed from his post three months later.
According to the report, officers were allowed to intervene only after National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar showed up to say, “Esteemed brothers and sisters, you have given your message, your protest has been seen.”
The prosecutor who launched an investigation into the incident was removed one month later, said the report.
Six suspects in the prosecutor’s investigation were found to be related to the 15 municipal workers. None of the 102 suspects are on remand.
The report said, “The lynching attempt aimed to harm the peace and fraternity in Turkey, rob politicians out of their good name, and deepen polarisations in the country.”