Turkey’s main opposition party on Monday staged simultaneous demonstrations in all the provinces of the country to protest against what it calls “lynching attempt” on its leader at a funeral in the capital city of Ankara.
Upon the call of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), thousands of Turks gathered at the Sishane neighborhood in central Istanbul, carrying banners that read “No to politics that feeds hate.”
Addressing the crowd, CHP’s Istanbul provincial head Canan Kaftancioglu said the attack is not an ordinary protest but rather a “grave and organized act.”
The protesters called for the defense and interior ministers to step down over their impotence in preventing the assault that happened the previous day at the funeral of a soldier killed in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at the border with Iraq.
CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu was hit on the head several times while the attackers shouted “shame on you” and “god damn you,” shows the footage from local broadcasters.
During last month’s campaigns for local elections, the ruling Justice and Development Party claimed that PKK members were among the CHP candidates.
The CHP won the mayoral elections in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, the top three cities in the country, though the ruling party is challenging the result in Istanbul and demanding a rerun of the election.
The PKK, listed as a terror group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has been fighting the Turkish state for three decades.