AKP deputy claims responsibility for punching opposition MPs
Hürriyet PhotoA member of parliament from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has claimed responsibility for punching opposition deputies during a heated parliamentary session, while also throwing a gavel at them “reflexively.”
“I threw four or five punches. I don’t lie; I speak frankly,” Oktay Saral, an AKP deputy from Istanbul, said during a live interview on Star television station late Feb. 18.
Three Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers, Musa Çam, Aykut Erdoğdu and Mahmut Tanal, as well as Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Sebahat Tuncel from the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) were injured during the first day of a debate on a controversial government-sponsored homeland security package late Feb. 17.
Saral said he “only pushed Tuncel,” before throwing punches at Kürkçü after he “spoke in an insulting way.” He also admitted that he threw the parliament speaker’s gavel at Erdoğdu and Tanal “reflexively, because they were throwing things at Recep Özel,” an AKP deputy.
“I am not sure whether the gavel hit them or not,” Saral said, adding that Çam – who suffered broken ribs – “fell down on decorative plants himself.”
Hours before Saral’s statement, AKP’s parliamentary group deputy head Mustafa Elitaş had said the injuries to the opposition parliamentarians were “self-inflicted.”
“Do you have a nervous problem or diabetes?” Star television presenter Nazlı Çelik asked Saral after his admission.
“Such an opposition can make a person have both diabetes and high blood pressure,” Saral answered, claiming that the main opposition CHP was responsible for the violence in the parliament.
In January 2014, Saral hit the headlines after punching CHP deputy Bülent Tezcan, causing his eyebrow to bleed. Parliament’s General Assembly then issued a penalty of condemnation for Saral’s action.