Gunmen open fire at Alevi leaders in central Turkey

Gunmen open fire at Alevi leaders in central Turkey

ANKARA – Cihan News Agency
Gunmen open fire at Alevi leaders in central Turkey Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Alevi-Bektashi Federation (ABF) head Baki Düzgün, his wife Yurdanur Düzgün and Alevi Culture Assoications (AKD) head Doğan Demir 80 kilometers northwest of the capital Ankara on Aug. 8, the second armed offensive against senior Alevi figures in a week.

No casualties were reported after unknown gunmen opened fire at the three members of the Alevi community in Turkey with long-barreled weapons from a roadside location 80 kilometers northwest of the capital while the three were in a car heading to the Ankara to attend a peace-themed meeting titled “Alevis Seek Peace.” 

Baki Düzgün said the car the three were in was fired on while they were driving down Bolu Mountain along a road, part of which connects the Black Sea province of Bolu to the Turkish capital.

“We were driving from Istanbul to Ankara to attend a meeting [in the capital]. Our car was fired at. Thank God, we received no injuries,” Baki Düzgün said.

Demir said daily Akit, a pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) newspaper, targeted Baki Düzgün less than a month ago over the deadly Suruç bombing, a suicide bomb attack which left dozens dead and more than 100 injured in the border town of Suruç on July 20. 

“All of a sudden, we heard gunshots while on the road. We sped up because we figured that we were targeted intentionally in a deserted location. Thank God, none of us were injured,” Demir said.

The pro-AKP daily had pointed to the leading Alevi figure, accusing him of dispatching the group of volunteers and activists who died in the Suruç bombing, referring to Akit television, a private television channel with the same owner as the daily.

Düzgün noted they had made calls for peace since the deadly Suruç bombing, but they were targeted by a daily. 

“They wanted to scare us, but we will always stand by peace,” he said.

The ABF, a major Alevi organization to study, preserve and introduce the Alevi-Bektashi culture, confirmed and condemned the incident in a written statement.

The move came less than a week after Zeynel Odaba from the Sultangazi Pirsultan Abdal Culture Association, an Alevi organization, was attacked in an armed assault in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district on Aug. 5.