Turkey’s Government, Pro-Kurdish Party Spar Over Murdered Family

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and pro-Kurdish opposition disputed what motivated the perpetrators in the killing of an entire family in central Turkey on Friday.

Officials say the murder of seven people in Konya province was carried out by members of another family after more than a decade of personal feuds between the two groups. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, known as HDP, said the attack was an act of racism, citing the victims’ Kurdish origins.

The chief prosecutor in Konya said initial findings in the probe show animosities between the perpetrators and victims date back to 2010, when they first brought their conflict to a court.

The killings and the delicate political posturing that followed highlight a deep political faultline in Turkey. Erdogan’s ruling AK Party fell out with HDP in 2015 after years of the two movements working together to address grievances of Kurdish people. Erdogan later enlisted ultra-nationlists as his main political allies to maintain a majority in parliament, and his political stature has pushed Kurdish politicians closer to other opposition parties.

HDP has in recent years thrown its full support behind Erdogan’s opponents without getting into any official alliances. In 2019, the party’s support allowed opposition candidates to deliver a stinging electoral defeat to Erdogan in municipal elections.

But HDP’s call for solidarity against what it alleges is an act of racism failed to yield much support from its newly found allies.

A senior team from main opposition party CHP met with security and justice officials in Konya on Saturday to investigate the killings, but refrained from making a clear statement on what motivated the attack.

“We don’t believe it’s right to make a bigger or smaller deal out of the incident than what’s merited,” CHP lawmaker Abdullatif Sener said in Konya, calling on the government to stay away from “a language of hate.”

Yavuz Agiralioglu, a deputy head of opposition party Iyi, called the attack “a criminal” event, saying they would oppose any attempts to “politicize” the incident.

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