Groups attack, set fire to HDP buildings after deadly bombing in Kayseri
DHA photoA group of people marched on the provincial branch office of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri on Dec. 17, attacking and inflicting damage to the property in an act that was repeated in several other provinces.
Hours after a deadly bombing targeting military personnel in Kayseri, a group of around 1,000 people staged a demonstration in reaction to the attack that was suspected of being conducted by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Marching to Republic Square in Kayseri amid chants against the PKK and vows to take revenge, the angry crowd advanced toward the HDP Kayseri Provincial Branch building in the Cumhuriyet neighborhood and attempted to enter the building. Faced with a police blockade, the group stoned the building and climbed up its window to take down the party’s signboard. The group also broke the windows and hung a Turkish flag as well as the flag of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Some of the assailants also threw down possessions from the office and set them on fire.
A group of protesters also became stuck on the roof after the building was set on fire.
Meanwhile, in the Republic Square, main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Kocasinan district youth branch head Cemre Doğan and several other party members were attacked by the protesting crowd. Police intervened in the incident by firing warning shots into the air to disperse the crowd. Faced with the resistance of the protestors, police formed a security corridor that was able to securely take Doğan to her car. The crowd dispersed after Doğan’s departure.
The attacks targeting the HDP in Kayseri were followed by consecutive attacks against the party by crowds in other Turkish provinces.
In the Beylikdüzü district of Istanbul, a group of 40 people attacked the HDP’s district branch office and set it on fire. A gas cylinder exploded during the fire, wounding a police officer and a private security guard.
While the wounded were taken to a hospital, police started an operation to capture the fleeing assailants. The fire was also brought under control by firefighters.
Similar vandal attacks were also carried out against local HDP buildings in the Darıca district of the northwestern province of Kocaeli and the Kartal district of Istanbul, as well as the Yıldrım district of the northwestern province of Bursa.
Following the attacks on the party, HDP Kars deputy and spokesperson Ayhan Bilge accused officials of turning a blind eye to the incidents, saying they had tried to reach them but neither ministers nor the police chief answered their calls.
“This is clearly turning a blind eye,” said Bilgen.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry released a statement on Dec. 18 saying the accusations regarding the security forces’ lack of precautions and the officials’ lack of response to the calls did not reflect the truth and that all security teams were instructed to take measures and take action against assailants to prevent any provocations.
On Dec. 18, nine people were detained over their alleged attacks on HDP buildings in various Istanbul districts.