Bloodshed in Ankara district, 10 wounded on election day
Ender BAYKUŞ Mert Gökhan KOÇ
A group of around 50 people, reportedly supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), attacked supporters of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) at a primary school in the Keçiören district of Ankara on March 30, as Turkey went to the polls for a crucial local election.
According to eye witnesses, the attackers, who came to the 29 Ekim Primary School in six minivans, used iron sticks and döner kebab knives, wounding 10 people. All those wounded were treated at nearby hospitals.
Riot police officers went to the crime scene after the incident and launched a survey in the area. Having identified the number plates of the minivans allegedly used in the attack, the police found the alleged perpetrators at an oil station.
The driver reportedly alleged that the attackers had forced their way into his minivan by force. “They got into my vehicle and said ‘drive.’ I drove as I was afraid. After being involved in the incident in front of the school, they got into my vehicle again and got out near the Ufuktepe neighborhood,” the driver told the police.
Five other minivans were found parked in front of the AKP Keçiören Election Coordination Center. The police have initiated a legal process into the owners and drivers of the vehicles.
Keçiören is assumed as a key conservative/right-wing district. With more than 600,000 voters, it is the second largest district. Keçiören’s current mayor, Mustafa Ak of the AKP, standing for reelection and his most challenging rival is Turgut Altınok from the ultra-nationalist Great Union Party (BBP).
Altınok was the mayor of Keçiören for three consecutive terms before the 2009 local elections, when he had to withdraw due to a sex tape scandal. At the time, he had been considered a hopeful metropolitan mayoral candidate from the AKP as an alternative to current mayor Melih Gökçek.
There were strong suggestions that MHP supporters in Keçirören had been planning to vote for Altınok.