HDP local election campaigners attacked by crowd in Aegean town

HDP local election campaigners attacked by crowd in Aegean town

İZMİR - Doğan News Agency
HDP local election campaigners attacked by crowd in Aegean town

A crowd hurl stones at the the People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) members and election campaign building in the Aegean town of Urla. AA photo

The People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) local election campaign team in İzmir’s Urla district were targeted Feb. 23 by a crowd of 1,000 people, who were chanting nationalist slogans. Several people were injured as a result of the incidents as police struggled to bring the groups under control.

The crowd hurled stones as around 100 HDP members arrived in the town to stage a campaign event, preventing the bus carrying them entering Urla’s center. 

They also threw stones at the district headquarters of the HDP and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). A small flag of the BDP hung on its building was also taken off and then set on fire by the crowd.

The HDP was formed last October as an umbrella party, encompassing the BDP and a number of leftist parties in the wake of the local elections. 

Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) mayoral candidate Hüseyin Akgül eventually intervened to calm the crowd, urging them not to resort to violence.

“You can chant our national hymn in the square, and express your discontent this way. But do not resort to violence. I ask you as an older brother, please disperse,” Akgül told the crowd.  

For their part, HDP members criticized the lack of security measures. “We came here for the opening of our election campaign. We had informed the police about it. We think that measures taken were not sufficient,” said HDP’s İzmir branch co-chair Dilek Bakış.

Police from İzmir were brought to Urla following the incident. No detentions were reported. 

Three prominent BDP lawmakers – Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Sebahat Tuncel – have joined the party. Kürkçü and Tuncel were elected as co-chairs while Önder, who was the first lawmaker to attend the Gezi protests, was nominated as the party’s candidate for the Istanbul mayoralty.