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Soldiers’ funerals become bone of contention between AKP, opposition

Turkey's interior minister claims the main opposition party supports terrorism and bans its officials from the funerals of service members.

On July 10, the ministers of the new Cabinet took their oaths at the Turkish parliament. When Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu came to the podium, members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) left the hall in protest. Only three days earlier, Soylu had been sworn in as a lawmaker at the parliament and CHP members had turned their backs to him to signal their disapproval.

The main reason for this protest was Soylu’s harsh comments and order that banned CHP officials from attending soldiers’ funerals. On June 28, Soylu told journalists that he had asked governors not to allow the CHP’s provincial chiefs to attend the funerals. The funerals are a frequent occurrence because of the enduring conflict with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Soylu said the CHP supports PKK’s representatives in the parliament, pointing to alleged CHP support for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) during the election. Throughout the election campaign, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly said that only the PKK and the CHP would like to see the HDP pass the national 10% vote threshold to have seats in the parliament.

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