The massacre of seven members of a Kurdish family in Konya’s Meram district brought greatly varying reactions from the representatives of different political sides, but there was also silence from two opposition parties in alliance against the government coalition.
The massacre came, alarmingly, straight after conspiracy theories blaming the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Kurdish symphathisers for the recent wildfires in Turkey started circulating online and trending on Twitter.
The first high level official reaction came from the Turkish interior minister, Süleyman Soylu in Antalya’s Manavgat district, where a wildfire has been raging. He said the massacre was the final phase of a local dispute going back 11 years, and had nothing to do with any Turkish-Kurdish issue.
“The incident is the unfortunate result of a conflict that started back in 2010,” he started, carefully also stressing :
“Of course, we’re here in Manavgat, in the midst of another sad situation. We’re in the midst of a scene distressing for the whole nation, that we’re fighting to recover from.”
Then he warned of “exploitation”:
“Of course just as they try to exploit everything, just as they unfortunately try to make everything political, so they’re trying to exploit this massacre in Konya too, with their vile scheme. This has absolutely nothing to do with the Turkish-Kurdish issue. I have to emphasise that trying to drag this into that [the Turkish-Kurdish] issue is as dangerous as the attack itself..”
On the other hand, Mithat Sancar, Co-Chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), blamed the government for the massacre, because of its provocative language of hatred targetting the HDP and the Kurdish people.
“The government’s language of hatred and provocation is the primary cause of this massacre,” Sancar said. “The government has been using this language of hatred targetting the HDP and the Kurds, and making statements that prepare the ground for policies of massacre, on a regular basis for a long time.”
The leader of the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, made no statement, and did not tweet after the incident, remaining absolutely silent on the massacre for at least 14 hours, although there has been a written statement from the party indicating that a team would make an inquiry into the incident.
Meral Akşener, the leader of the Good Party, another opposition party in alliance with Kılıçdaroğlu’s CHP, also displayed no reaction of any kind until at least noon the following day.
However, Aytun Çıray, General Secretary of the Good Party, tweeted: “The news about ‘a racist attack on a family in Konya’ is not true. It is the sad result of a long-standing dispute between two families.”
Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and a key figure in the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP), tweeted a message after the massacre:
“I’m deeply saddened by reports of a vicious attack on a Kurdish family in Konya, Turkey. I convey the deepest condolences of my govt to the family, and expect the perpetrators to be held fully accountable,” he said.