HDP, gov’t in row over party office bombings in southern Turkey
CİHAN PhotoHeadquarters of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have been hit by twin bomb attacks in two southern Turkish provinces just weeks before the June 7 election, with the government and HDP officials engaging in a row over responsibility for the attack.
Hidden in a cargo parcel and a gift-packaged flower pot, the two bombs injured at least three people at the HDP’s two local headquarters in Adana and Mersin on May 18.
The HDP, however, accused the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of being politically responsible for the attack due to raising “provocations” and “tensions.” The party stated that six personnel had been injured in the attack on its Adana headquarters.
“It must be known that no power will be able to prevent the HDP from converging with the Turkish nation,” read the HDP’s statement, pointing the finger at the harsh language recently used by President Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and other ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) figures.
“[Some] powers supported by the government attempts to prevent our party’s development and election campaign. The political responsibility of these attacks is on President Erdoğan, the prime minister, and other AKP officials,” read the statement released soon after the attacks on May 18.
HDP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Pervin Buldan also strongly criticized the government after the attacks.
“Neither the president, nor the prime minister, nor other government officials, should condemn today’s attacks. They should be silent. That’s enough!” wrote Buldan on her Twitter account following the attacks.
HDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder vowed that they would “not bow down.”
“We have brought hope to this soil and it is not a vain hope. Our knees have not been forced down to the soil and they will not be. They will not be able to bring us to our knees,” said Önder, speaking on a radio program in Ankara.
Speaking to Hürriyet on May 18, HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş called on the government to reveal the attackers.
“If you are lynching the HDP [during public rallies] then you are preparing the ground for attacks. The attackers are clear. It is the government’s responsibility to find the perpetrators of the attack, but it says ‘you cannot blame us.’ The aim is to sow hate among the electorate, but we will not allow it,” Demirtaş said.
On the government side, Prime Minister Davutoğlu condemned the attack during a rally in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman, saying he had given instructions to the Interior Ministry for a full investigation. He also said they would make “no concessions to any accusation against the AKP over the attacks.”
Culture Minister Ömer Çelik also condemned the attacks, adding that a special unit had been formed with the Police, Gendarmerie and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to investigate the blasts, speaking at a press conference in Marsin on May 18.
“I condemn the attack on the HDP headquarters in Adana and Mersin. An attack on a political party is an attack on all parties and democracy. This attack was staged against the HDP, all other parties, and the election process,” Çelik also wrote on Twitter.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç denounced the attacks as a “provocation,” while Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan condemned the blasts and wished a speedy recovery to all those injured.
“I condemn the attack on the HDP bureaus in Adana and Mersin and wish a speedy recovery to the injured citizens,” wrote Akdoğan on his Twitter account.
Early on May 18, a loud explosion rocked the second floor of the building where the HDP’s provincial HQ is based in Adana at the same time as an explosion at the party’s Mersin branch.
According to the HDP headquarters in Ankara, the explosion in Adana occurred in the cargo room of its local branch. In its Mersin branch, a flower pot that was sent on May 17 exploded when it was opened on May 18.
More casualties were potentially avoided as party officials initially suspected that the pot could have been used to hide a wiretapping device, before deciding to remove it from the room and putting it on the terrace.
The attacks are the latest of some 70 attacks on the HDP election bureaus and election campaign teams across Turkey, as tension rises weeks before the June 7 general election.
More than 70 attacks have taken place against the HDP in 34 provinces over the past five months, according to the HDP. On May 17, the party’s election stands were attacked on the Princes’ Islands, off Istanbul.