Designer’s claim about CHP instigation of ‘machete-man’ attack stirrs debate
Designer Barbaros Şansal (C) poses with Ege University students who organize a tent protest against a decision to separate dormitories by gender on Sept. 27. Şansal's remarks on the 'machete-man' have been widely commented by politicians. AA photoA renowned designer has stirred debate after saying he heard a main opposition member claim that someone wielding a machete would attack protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim area around 10 days before such an incident occurred.
“One of the CHP [Republican People’s Party] Istanbul office advisers told me in a café in Taksim that someone with a machete would appear in Talimhane and that they would pin the blame [for it] on the AKP [Justice and Development Party],” designer Barbaros Şansal said at a park forum meeting late Sept. 26
Şansal also said the CHP’s deputy head, Gürsel Tekin, was party to the conversation.
Following a police crackdown on protesters on July 6, footage emerged showing a man with a machete, later identified as S.Ç., attacking protesters in the Talimhane area, which is known for its touristic hotels close to Taksim Square.
A prosecutor has demanded up to 27 years in prison for the suspect.
Government urges probe, CHP incredulous
After Şansal’s remarks were reported in the press, AKP spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik urged prosecutors via Twitter to “take action.”
Tekin, cited by Şansal as a witness, vehemently denied the account. “It’s false. Such an incident has not happened, nor did I witness anything like it. I don’t take it seriously,” Tekin said.
CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also dismissed Şansal’s claim. “He has lost his senses. He should mind his own business, which is fashion,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Şansal further commented on his remarks, saying that he was not accusing the main opposition, only reporting what he heard. “Perhaps it’s a coincidence, or perhaps it was planned. Doing an investigation is not my job, but the prosecutors’ and the judiciary’s,” Şansal said, reiterating that Tekin was also there. “The matter is not the CHP. I am surprised that it is reflected this way. The matter is clean politics.”
Şansal has participated in the protests in Istanbul since the beginning, becoming one of the symbols of the demonstrations. He also stood still in the Taksim Square to support the solo protest of performance artist Erdem Gündüz, who later became known as the “standing man.”
Şansal also claimed to have been kidnapped for a few hours on the night of Aug. 3. His disappearance had caused a huge reaction as Twitter users spread news with the hashtag #Barbarosşansalnerede (#whereisbarbarossansal) that Şansal had been detained.
Şansal tweeted on the morning of Aug. 4 that he was back home, safe and sound.