Attack on HDP politician escalates tensions with government

Attack on HDP politician escalates tensions with government

Attack on HDP politician escalates tensions with government

Forensics were dispatched to HDP's Ankara building following the attack. AA Photo

Just a day after the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) complained of being the target of a political lynch campaign, a senior executive of the party was stabbed in downtown Ankara, deepening a rift with the government, while the prime minister interpreted the day-time attack as an indication showing the righteousness about their warnings about public order.

The incident took place Nov. 4 after an assailant entered the HDP’s provincial branch building, and was confronted by Ahmet Karataş, a member of the HDP’s Party Assembly. The assailant stabbed Karataş in the neck with his knife before escaping. An HDP statement said he had been stabbed seven times in the attack. Karataş was being treated in intensive care in hospital.

The 28-year-old assailant, identified only by the initials E.A., was captured by police a few hours after the incident.

The HDP swiftly pointed the finger at both the president and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), while a statement by its sister party, the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), revealed that HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş was subject to bullying during a flight a short time ago. The DBP said the two incidents could not be regarded as isolated and separate.

At Parliament, the other co-leader of the HDP, Figen Yüksekdağ, said the attack was actually waiting to happen.

“We woke up with a flagrant attack. It was an attack waiting to happen; it is not isolated from the lynch campaign targeting our party. This is not an ordinary attack by a furious individual. Those who turned our party into a target should not say that they weren’t expecting this,” Yüksekdağ said, addressing a regular weekly parliamentary meeting of her party. “[Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu says: ‘The HDP should act like a political party.’ Before teaching us a lesson, you should first start behaving like the government.”

Elsewhere in Parliament, speaking to reporters following the attack, Davutoğlu condemned the attack.
“No excuse can legitimize an attack against any politician, any citizen. I condemn this attack in the strongest terms,” Davutoğlu said, as he cited the rapid capture of the assailant as a result of an “effective intervention” by the security forces.

“We are not showing anybody as a target. But the HDP, with statements they made on Oct. 6, 7 during the Kobane incidents, turned each and every citizen in the east, the southeast and Turkey [as well as] our government, into a target,” he added.

The prime minister was referring to the unrest, which peaked on Oct. 6 and 7 and led to the deaths of dozens of people in clashes between rival groups, following protests over the government’s perceived inaction toward Syrian Kurds besieged by jihadists in Kobane.

However, neither Davutoğlu nor Yüksekdağ signaled any intention of abandoning the peace process aimed at ending the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), although each warned the other to act in line with the spirit of the process.

“I hope that all politicians, including the HDP, noticed how important public order is for everybody with these incidents,” Davutoğlu said.