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Turkey's Kurds stand with ultranationalists after campus murder

The murder of an ultranationalist college student reveals how Turkey's peace process with the Kurds and the growing Islamization of politics has impacted Turkish nationalists.
Supporters of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) make the grey wolf sign of the party as they wait for the arrival of party leader Devlet Bahceli during a rally in Istanbul October 5, 2013. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3FMJT

In the midst of the domestic security bill debate Feb. 20 in Turkey's parliament, Nationalist Action Party (MHP) deputy leader Oktay Vural sought permission to make an announcement. Known as a serious and reserved politician, Vural broke into tears as he discussed the murder of college student Firat Yilmaz Cakiroglu, 24.

Cakiroglu was a senior at Ege University in the city of Izmir. This was not a random murder. Cakiroglu was the representative of the MHP’s youth organization Ulku Ocaklari, known as the "gray wolves" on campus. Cakiroglu had told his parents, MHP deputies and the police that Kurdish groups — allegedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) — had threatened him several times before his brutal stabbing.

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