Attacker shot, wounded at Israeli embassy gate
A man allegedly suffering from mental problems was shot and wounded on Sept. 21 by Turkish police in front of the Israeli Embassy in Ankara after he approached the main gate of the embassy, shouting anti-Israel slogans while brandishing a knife.
The Ankara Governor’s Office identified the attacker as 38-year-old Osman Nuri Çalışkan from Konya.
“A single person tried to stab a Turkish police officer. One of the Turkish police officers situated in front of the embassy responded immediately and shot the attacker in the foot in order to neutralize him,” the Israeli Embassy said in a written statement.
“The police officer’s action brought the incident to an end,” it said. There were no casualties or injuries and no harm to any of the embassy staff, it added.
Çalışkan had no links with any terrorist organizations, the Ankara Governor’s Office said.
The incident came at a moment in which Turkey and Israel have normalized strained relations following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, in which 10 Turkish activists on a flotilla were killed while trying to bring aid to Gaza, and were about to exchange ambassadors.
Israeli Chargé d’Affaires Amira Oron was not at the embassy during the incident.
The statement issued by the Ankara Governor’s Office recalled that the mental state of the attacker was not balanced and that an initial probe had shown that he had no connection with any terror organizations. “An investigation about the incident is ongoing,” it said.
According to the website of daily Hürriyet, Çalışkan said, “I did this to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East,” in his first testimony to the police. Çalışkan was also heard shouting “I will change the Middle East” in footage of the incident aired by CNN Türk.
A bomb squad, meanwhile, examined a suspicious package found near the embassy building. The object later turned out to be empty.
“The embassy trusts the Turkish forces to [take] control and investigate the incident. The embassy would like to take the opportunity to thank the Turkish police for its professional performance,” the Israeli embassy said.
Turkish police intensified its security measures around Israeli diplomatic missions in the wake of the incident even though they are already heavily protected.
In late June, Turkey and Israel concluded a long-term negotiation process with an agreement to restore bilateral ties. Israel agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims in exchange for Turkey dropping all charges against senior Israeli officers who took part in the killing of the 10 Turkish nationals. Israel has also apologized for the incident while easing the restrictions on the Gaza Strip – two other Turkish demands for the restoration of ties.