HDP says co-leader escaped an assassination attempt
Co-chair of People's Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş delivers a press conference in Ankara on November 1, 2015, after the first results in the country's general election were released. AFP PhotoThe co-chair of Turkey’s Kurdish-issues-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, was unharmed after his car was hit by a bullet on Nov. 22 in an apparent assassination attempt, party executives said. Police officials, however, have said the damage on Demirtaş’s car was not caused by a gunshot.
The rear window of Demirtaş’s bullet-proof car was hit once as he and his security team were driving through the city of Diyarbakır in the predominantly Kurdish populated southeast region, a party spokesperson said.
Demirtaş told Fırat News Agency the team first noticed the bullet when they got out of the car. He said the car was taken by the police after the incident for further investigation.
“Death is God’s command,” Demirtaş tweeted after the incident.
But the city’s police said the analysis of the rear window’s damage showed no evidence of gunfire.
“No remnants of gunfire were detected in the analysis. The assessment revealed that the damage was caused by a blow from a hard object,” the police statement said, adding, “There was no attack on him or his vehicle.”
Earlier, the Diyarbakır governor’s office denied that Demirtaş had been the target of an assassination attempt and that the car was hit by gunfire.
Meanwhile, the HDP’s other co-chair, Figen Yüksekdağ, insisted that the attack was “an explicit assassination attempt” while speaking at a press conference on Nov. 23.
“There’s a bullet mark, right at head level on the reinforced rear window, on Demirtaş’s side. We don’t trust the governor’s statement regarding the assassination attempt. The state is notorious for its unreliable statements. This assassination attempt against Mr. Demirtaş is part of the general assault on us,” Yüksekdağ said.
“Those who shot the gas canister at me in Silvan were not prosecuted. Nor were the ones who fired at us. Instead, I was prosecuted. There is continuous instigation with hate speech and increasing tension. This is a political assault,” she added.
Last week, Yüksekdağ filed a complained about being attacked by security forces in the town of Silvan in Diyarbakır when trying to visit the town under curfew with a parliamentary delegation on Nov. 12. Videos showed Yüksekdağ being hit with a tear gas canister after she and colleagues were doused by a water cannon.
As of Nov. 23, Demirtaş also filed a complained to the Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office, in which he called the official statement “superficial.”
“We consider the statement delivered by the governor’s office…aims to cover up the crime and is an unserious statement delivered in the face of the serious claim of assassination,” Demirtaş said in his petition, asking the prosecutor’s office to conduct “a sufficient and effective investigation in order to clarify all suspected matters” and find “perpetrator/s and instigator/s.”
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Angelina Eichhorst, the European Commission’s director for Western Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey, both called Demirtaş to extend their good wishes after the attack, the HDP stated. In her call, Eichhorst expressed hope that the investigation into the incident would be completed swiftly and the attackers would be revealed.