HDP deputy’s mother removed from grave after racist attack in Turkey

The body of Hatun Tuğluk, mother of jailed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Aysel Tuğluk, was on Wednesday removed from the grave after an attack carried out by a ultranationalist group during the funeral, the Gazete Duvar news website reported.

Hatun Tuğluk

According to the report, the body of Hatun Tuğluk, who passed away on Tuesday, was taken to İncek Cemetery in Ankara’s Batıkent district. 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 again taken to a morgue. She will now be buried in Tunceli province.

Kurdish politician Sırrı Sakık, who also attended the funeral, criticized the government for not taking adequate security measures since they were under attack for a long time in the cemetery. Sakık said the ultranationalist group insisted that they would not let “Kurds, Alevis or Armenians be buried in the cemetery.”

Aysel Tuğluk

HDP deputy Mithat Sancar said he could not reach the governor of Ankara for 40 minutes after the attack started, underlining that no additional police were sent to the cemetery despite the growing number of assailants.

In a statement on Twitter the HDP said the government is responsible for the attack due to it having polarized attitudes in society.

Tuğluks are a Kurdish family of the Alevi religious minority background. Tuğluk whom the Turkish authorities held in prison in the Kocaeli province since her arrest in December 2016, attended her mother’s funeral under gendarmerie custody and with special permission from judicial authorities.

HDP deputy Filiz Kerestecioglu condemned the assault. “You, those attacking the funeral of the sweetest woman, those who are tolerating what they did to Aysel Tuğluk, are fascists. And there is no cure for you,” she tweeted.

HDP deputy Adem Geveri has said there was no one arrested from the assailants as of the time of writing this report.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Thursday called on Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) to condemn an attack on the funeral of Hatun Tuğluk, saying Erdoğan and government are responsible for the attack, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.

“The government is responsible for what happened because they run the state with enmity and hatred,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

“This is inhumane. The biggest reaction must come from the Religious Affairs Directorate. The president and prime minister must condemn the attack and call it ‘inhumane.’ We have never before seen or heard about a person not being able to be buried and taken to another cemetery due to opposition against it,” added Kılıçdaroğlu.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ on Thursday called the attack on the funeral of Hatun Tuğluk “unacceptable.” “This is a very ugly behavior. It is a disrespectful behavior not consistent with our civilization and belief,” he said.

CHP deputy Barış Yarkadaş has described the attack on the funeral as an “ignoble act” and called for the prosecution of the perpetrators.

The Ankara Governor’s Office on Thursday said they launched an investigation into racist attack at funeral of Hatun Tuğluk. “Administrative and judicial investigation were launched for interference in the funeral,” said Ankara Governor’s Office in a statement issued on early Thursday.

Ankara Governor’s Office said in its statement that security measures were taken by police against ultranationalists group and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu personally went to the cemetery and contacted HDP politicians.

Hatun Tuğluk is going to be buried on Thursday in Tunceli province following a funeral ceremony in a cemevi, an Alevi house of worship, an HDP deputy announced. HDP’s Tunceli deputy Alican Önlü announced on his Twitter account that funeral ceremony will be at Tunceli Cemevi at 13:00.

Hatun Tuğluk has reportedly attended her daughter’s trials in a wheelchair until her death. Prosecutors last week asked up to 22 years and six months in prison for the HDP deputy Aysel Tuğluk, accusing her of membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Tuğluk had served two times as deputy at Turkish Parliament and was also the co-chair of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), and HDP predecessor, banned in 2009 by Turkey’s Constitutional Court, on for having become “the focal point of activities against the indivisible unity of the state.”

There are currently 11 HDP deputies behind bars in Turkey after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government stepped up a crackdown on Kurdish politicians last fall. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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