A high-ranking military officer, whose younger brother was killed in a terrorist attack by PKK, protested several Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies who attended his brother’s funeral, holding the government’s policy shift from talks with the PKK to waging war against the group as being responsible for the death of his brother.
A funeral ceremony was held on Sunday at Osmaniye Büyük Mosque for Capt. Ali Alkan, who was wounded when PKK terrorists attacked a gendarmerie station in the Beytüşşebap district of Şırnak province with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic guns on Friday. He died of his wounds on Saturday. AK Party provincial head Hamza Tor and AK Party Osmaniye deputies Suat Önal and Mücahit Durmuşoğlu were also present at the funeral, drawing protests from the relatives of the slain soldier.
Lt. Col. Mehmet Alkan, the elder brother of the fallen captain, refused to pray for his slain brother at the same mosque as the AK Party deputies, saying: “My brother has died. I will take my brother from this place where these looters are. I will take him to the regimental command.”
“A son of this land, 32 years old, hasn’t had enough time on this land, in this world, with his loved ones. Who is the murderer? Who is the cause of this? Why do those who talked about ‘peace’ up until today now say, ‘War until the end’? Instead of those soldiers let them [politicians] fight against the PKK,” the elder brother of the slain captain said.
A tumult broke out following the reactions against the AK Party officials at the funeral. The provincial mufti attempted to start the prayers as Mehmet Alkan criticized the timing of the war with the PKK but was unable to continue given the chaos.
Lt. Col. Mehmet Alkan criticized the government’s unexpected and abrupt policy change on the Kurdish settlement process, which he argued has led to the PKK killing many military officers, including his brother, for the sake of the AK Party’s political ambitions, such as a new election in the coming months and aiming to secure more votes for its single-party rule.
“Those who previously defended the settlement process [with the PKK] now abandoned this policy and took sides with the fight against the PKK by waging war. Those who sit in their palaces [a reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s presidential palace, dubbed Ak Saray] safely with the protection of dozens of bodyguards and those who ride in armored cars cannot mention being a martyr and cannot praise being a martyr,” Mehmet Alkan said.
In a previous incident, a group of people threw coins and stones at Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, chasing him away from a funeral held in Bursa for a soldier killed in a PKK attack on Wednesday, forcing the minister to seek shelter at the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality offices until the police dispersed the angry crowd.
The latest example of public anger over the current situation was in Bursa on Thursday at the funeral of Bahadır Aydın, a soldier who was killed on Wednesday. A large number of mourners at the funeral protested the presence of Müezzinoğlu, who represented the AK Party.
Upon the protests, the minister initially tried to enter a cultural center on the perimeter but was denied access. His bodyguards later took him to an office of the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality. One of the relatives of the dead soldier yelled at the minister, criticizing him for his previous statement in which Müezzinoğlu had said that if the nation had elected Erdoğan as head of state under a presidential system, Turkey would not be facing the chaos that has been plaguing the country over the last month.
“If we had elected Erdoğan president, all of this would not have happened, correct? You said this yourself. How many more will we sacrifice until we elect him [Erdoğan] as president? Damn you all,” the relative yelled at the minister.