Murat Alp, a participant in a racist attack on the funeral of Hatun Tuğluk, mother of jailed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Aysel Tuğluk, on Wednesday took a souvenir photo with Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu at a police station in Ankara following the incident, the T24 news website reported.
According to the report Alp was among 48 people who disrupted Tuğluk’s funeral and was brought to the police station for questioning.
Soylu went to the same station with the Ankara governor and chief of police to offer his condolences to HDP deputy Tuğluk and to be briefed on the attack.
Alp had his photo taken with Soylu at the station and posted it on Facebook.
Commenting on the incident on Facebook, Soylu said he took the photo with Alp thinking that he was a neighbor who went to the police station after learning of his arrival.
Underlining that the necessary steps had been taken against the mob at Tuğluk’s funeral, Soylu said snapping a photo with an attacker will not change that fact and that exaggerated comments about it will only increase public anger.
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has criticized Interior Minister Soylu on Saturday for being photographed with a participant in a racist attack on the funeral of Hatun Tuğluk and said Soylu’s move equated to protecting such assailants.
Speaking during an opening ceremony in İstanbul on Saturday, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “There’s no place in politics, morality and life for the person who took that photo.”
“How can a minister take a photo with people who brought Turkey to this present [bad] situation? You are taking a photo with a person who attacked a grave. In a police station, at that. What does that mean? It means that they can attack graves as much as they want. ‘I am your guarantor’,” he said.
The body of Hatun Tuğluk, who passed away on Tuesday, was taken to İncek Cemetery in Ankara’s Batıkent district on Wednesday but was removed from the grave after an attack by an ultranationalist group during the funeral in Ankara. The HDP’s Aysel Tuğluk attended the funeral with special permission from Kandıra Prison in Kocaeli province, where she is incarcerated. Some 50 ultranationalists who had gathered in the cemetery attacked the funeral, saying: “We have martyrs in this cemetery. We will not allow terrorists to be buried here.”
Following the attack, the body of Hatun Tuğluk was removed from the grave and later buried in Tunceli province.
The Ankara Governor’s Office said in a statement that security measures were taken by police against the ultranationalist group and that Interior Minister Soylu personally went to the cemetery and spoke with HDP politicians.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters in Ankara on Saturday that the incident was unacceptable and that the perpetrators would be punished.
“Every citizen in this country has a right to live anywhere they want and to be buried anywhere they want. It is a basic civil and human right,” Yıldırım said.
Turkish authorities detained 23 people after examining security camera footage but later released 19 of them, the NTV website reported on Saturday. The police are also searching for another six people allegedly involvement in the attack. (SCF with turkishminute.com)