Mayor of Turkey’s Eskişehir escapes armed assault attempt, vows to ‘not back down’
ESKİŞEHİRThe mayor of the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, Yılmaz Büyükerşen, escaped an attempted armed assault on July 29, after which he vowed that he would not be discouraged by such incidents.
“I am in a good condition, as is Kemal, my press consultant, who was next to me at the time. We will not be frightened by such incidents,” Büyükerşen told reporters right after the attack, adding that the local prosecutor’s office had launched an investigation into the incident.
One day after the incident, on July 30, gave a speech in front of the municipality building, saying the incident was carried out by a “would-be mafia” motivated by rent-seeking ambitions.
“I have just recently found out that these people [attackers] have undertaken various acts, including extorting money from people. There is no importance in their attack against me. What matters is that - whichever party we are from - we see the big picture and avert such gangs and mafias. We need to see where these come from,” he added.
The Eskişehir Municipality, led by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said in a written statement on July 29 that a group of shopkeepers had drawn a gun on Büyükerşen to attack him.
One of the men was identified as Mahfuz Banlı, who had a criminal record, according to the statement.
Earlier, the Eskişehir Governor’s Office had stated that two suspects were detained, and this number later rose to four.
Meanwhile, the CHP’s vice-chairman, responsible for the party’s local administrations, told daily Hürriyet that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had called Büyükerşen to wish him a speedy recovery.
“Eskişehir is a European city of culture. It is a university city where children can comfortably play on the streets and youths can walk around. No one can disturb its peace. They cannot be strong enough to do this. The locals of Eskişehir would not allow this,” Seyit Torun said.