Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader and Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has cancelled his program in the quake-hit Adıyaman’s Kahta district after cars in his convoy were attacked on April 21, according to reporting by the online news outlet Diken.
The incident happened after he was already exposed to two attacks in the province earlier in the day. Kılıçdaroğlu was initially verbally attacked by a man who said the CHP leader does not know Islamic prayers.
After this attack, Kılıçdaroğlu visited Sahabe Safvan Bin Muattal Tomb. During his visit, a mob came outside the tomb and both verbally and physically attacked CHP members and police officers. During the verbal attack, the mob was heard saying, “Don’t come here.”
Later on in the day, the CHP leader was scheduled to meet with citizens at Yüzüncü Yıl Park at 4 p.m. local time in Kahta. When Kılıçdaroğlu did not come at the scheduled time, citizens started marching towards the district’s entrance. However, on the way, tensions arose in front of the Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s district building between the supporters of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and AKP.
The HDP voters started to chant “Potatoes and onions, goodbye Erdoğan,” in reference to the skyrocketing inflation in the country, with masses having financial problems in even buying basic food items such as potatoes and onions. In the face of this chant, AKP supporters started shouting “Allahuekber,” which translates as “God is the greatest.”
Afterwards, citizens went back to Yüzüncü Yıl Park to welcome Kılıçdaroğlu, however, the CHP leader was unable to go there as his convoy was attacked in front of the AKP building. CHP’s photographers and ANKA news agency reporters were also affected by the attack.
Since Kılıçdaroğlu’s vehicle was behind the convoy, he was not physically affected by the attack. The presidential candidate took a decision to go back to Ankara, and citizens waiting in the park were told that the CHP leader had to “postpone his Kahta program due to another meeting.” However, since thousands of people waiting for Kılıçdaroğlu knew about the real reason of the cancellation, they reacted against the physical attack with booing.
According to information that Diken received from police authorities and CHP executives, Kılıçdaroğlu cancelled his program since he wanted to “avoid a bloody conflict that can overshadow the elections.”
Journalist Altan Sancar shared a footage of AKP supporters kicking and swearing at the CHP convoy.
Kahta’da Kılıçdaroğlu’nun konvoyundaki araçlara, AKP Kahta İlçe teşkilatı binası önünde bekleyenlerin küfürlü ve tekmeli saldırısının görüntüleri.— Altan Sancar (@altansancarr) April 21, 2023
İçlerinden biri “Gelin, gelin! A…” diyor. pic.twitter.com/RwI4O84LqN