Three killed in armed clash amid election tour in southeast Turkey
Photo: Doğan News Agency
Three were killed and nine were injured in an armed clash during an election tour of a delegation from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa on June 14.
According to Doğan News Agency, the delegation, led by AKP MP İbrahim Yıldız, was visiting local shopkeepers in Suruç’s Cumhuriyet neighborhood ahead of the June 24 elections.
A group of shopkeepers initially engaged in a heated argument with the AKP delegation, which eventually turned violent. Guns and clubs were used in the ensuing clash, reports said.
Three people, including a brother of MP Yıldız, were killed and nine, including four other brothers of Yıldız, were reportedly injured.
Several officials of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), a local affiliate of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), are among the casualties, local media reported.
Yıldız said that the assailants told the delegation that “they support the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK” and asked why AKP members went there despite knowing this.
“That is how the argument started. They attacked our delegation with rifles after I left there,” the AKP MP added, stressing that their delegation also included some relatives of the other group.
An investigation has been launched as police cordoned off the area.
Erdoğan accuses HDP, PKK
“An elder brother of our MP has been killed by PKK supporters. This incident is an obvious example of the PKK and the HDP’s strategy to grow through the blood of Kurds. We have no problem with our Kurdish brothers, but we have a problem with the PKK. I believe that our Kurdish brothers will spoil their game,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım described the clash as a “terrible incident.” Citing initial findings of the police, he said the suspects are “sympathizers of the PKK.”
“I hope that this was only petty crime and there is nothing political behind it. If there is something political behind it, the consequences will be different,” he said.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said the AKP delegation was targeted in “an attack planned before the visit.”
AKP spokesperson Mahir Ünal condemned the assailants. “I am calling for restraint to all our party members and voters in Suruç,” Ünal said.
HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan also condemned the incident. “As the HDP, we will not create any ground for any kind of provocation,” she said.