VIDEO: CHP deputy candidate injured in armed assault in Turkey’s south
ADANAMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy candidate Elif Doğan Türkmen was wounded in an armed attack at around 9 a.m. on May 26 in a restaurant in the southern province of Adana, Doğan News Agency has reported.
Türkmen, who is running for parliament on the CHP ticket as the party’s top candidate from Adana, was injured in the legs after three gunshots were fired by a man from close distance at the entrance of a restaurant, where Türkmen had gone to attend an event.
She was immediately taken to hospital and was later released.
In a written statement, Türkmen said her health condition was positive and such attacks would not discourage the party from working ahead of the elections.
“We will continue our work at full speed, and even stronger than before, as soon as possible,” read a part of the statement.
Security camera footage from the hotel during the attack shows a figure, later identified by police as a 54-year-old man, pointing a gun at the legs of Türkmen after she entered the building. He apparently misfires, and then fires his gun three times from just a few meters away before running out of the building. The man fled the scene in a car he had parked 50 meters from the building.
Adana Public Prosecutor Ali Yeldan, who inspected the crime scene, said the attack was being investigated closely and the possibility of it having “political motivations” was also being looked into.
“The suspect came in a rented car to the scene. The car has been seized. The incident will be thoroughly investigated once the assailant is caught,” Yeldan told journalists.
Adana Governor Mustafa Büyük denied that the armed attack on Türkmen was political, saying it was instead “the result of a lawyer-client dispute,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Türkmen said at the hospital where she was treated that the assailant was someone she knew in the past, asking for money from her. She added that she did “not take the attack seriously.”
Her husband, Ahmet Türkmen, told Anadolu Agency that the assailant was a former client of his lawyer wife, and he had aggressively demanded money both before and during the current election campaign.
“It’s interesting that the incident took place at this time. I don’t know if there is a special guidance, but there seems to be no political side to it,” he said.
Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu urged his party to remain calm, while also calling on the government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“I have already warned our members of parliament, candidates and party organization against such provocations. We need to remain calm and be prepared for the morning of June 8,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the date after the general election’s polling day.
“The government must bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible. We expect it to fulfill this responsibility. If it does so, the likelihood of a second attack will decrease,” he added.
Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik condemned the attack via his Twitter account.
“I condemn this attack. We evaluate an attack on any deputy candidate, no matter which party they are from, to be against all of us,” read Çelik’s tweet.
With the election less than two weeks away, the political temperature is rising around Turkey amid a series of violent incidents targeting politicians and parties.
Adana has seen a considerable amount of this violence. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Ramazan Demir was stabbed in the stomach three times while campaigning in the Aladağ district of the province on May 23.
On May 18, meanwhile, bombs exploded at two local headquarters of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Adana and the neighboring province of Mersin. Hidden in a cargo parcel and a gift-packaged flower pot, the two bombs injured four people and damaged the campaign offices.