March 4, 2020 / 4:21 PM / a month ago

Fists fly in Turkish parliament after opposition MP criticises Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party during meeting at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, March 4, 2020. Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - A fistfight erupted in the Turkish parliament on Wednesday during a speech by an opposition lawmaker who earlier accused President Tayyip Erdogan of disrespecting Turkish soldiers who died in Syria.

Dozens of parliamentarians joined the brawl, some climbing desks or throwing punches, while others tried to stop the fighting, according to video footage of the incident.

Engin Ozkoc, a lawmaker from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), had accused the president at a news conference and later in tweets of disrespecting soldiers who were killed last week in Syria’s Idlib region.

Ozkoc also accused Erdogan of irresponsibility for sending troops into a conflict without air cover.

The speaker of parliament, Mustafa Sentop, condemned the statement by the opposition lawmaker.

Ankara prosecutors launched an investigation into a suspected insulting of the president, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Editing by Dominic Evans/Mark Heinrich

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