Turkey’s election campaign heated up on Friday after shots were fired at the opposition Good Party’s Istanbul office, piercing the building’s windows.
Turkish authorities announced the suspect’s apprehension later the same day. Identified as a night guard at a nearby construction site, the suspect reportedly told police that he accidentally hit the party’s office building while he was chasing thieves who had entered the site. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to Turkish officials.
The party’s office was empty during the time of the incident, which took place early Friday local time and fueled tensions between the opposition and government officials.
Speaking early Friday, Good Party leader Meral Aksener linked the incident to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inflammatory comments toward her, saying it was aimed at intimidating the party ahead of the country’s critical May 14 polls.
“I’m not scared, Mr. Recep,” Aksener said. “Attempts to scare members of political parties just one month and a half to go to the elections is unacceptable. … We are not scared, but this is a great injustice and insult to the electorate.”
Earlier this week, Erdogan snapped at Aksener’s criticism of him. “She is messing with the wrong people. Be careful, don’t get yourself in trouble with me,” said Erdogan.
Several opposition heads, including main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, condemned the incident. Yet Erdogan has maintained his silence on the incident as of this writing.
Instead, his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) denounced the incident but also lashed out at Aksener’s accusations.
Speaking before the suspect was caught, AKP Spokesperson Omer Celik described the incident as a provocation. “We are extending our best wishes to the Good Party,” Celik said, adding that “Aksener’s accusations at our president are irresponsible and provocative.”
Aksener is one of the six leaders within the country’s six-party electoral bloc running against the Erdogan-led alliance.
Source : Al Monitor