By Nazlan Ertan
IZMIR, Turkey (Al-Monitor) — A gunman attacked the headquarters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Izmir, the third-largest city of Turkey, June 17, killing a 38-year-old volunteer.
The gunman’s initial statement said that he acted alone, but several opposition politicians demanded further inquiry into his ties, particularly after his Instagram account showed him toting guns in Manbij, Syria. HDP members also accused the government of making the party a target with repetitive accusations that HDP was a threat to national security.
“This was an attack that was coming,” HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar said at a press conference in Ankara. “This government feeds on chaos and tries to stifle the opposition, particularly the HDP, through all means. Those who have not dealt with us through legal and political means have now mobilized their killers. The government has put its chaos plans into action.”
He added that the attack could have become a massacre if the HDP had not decided at the last minute to postpone a meeting of 40 local chairs scheduled for the morning.
The HDP, Turkey’s third-largest party with 55 seats in the 583-strong parliament, is under threat of closure after a top prosecutor refiled an indictment earlier this month to ban nearly 500 of its members from political office on terror-related charges. The legal move is coupled with growing political pressure from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which repeatedly link the HDP to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party. MHP chair Devlet Bahceli said June 8 that the Constitutional Court had a moral duty to ensure that the HDP would be wiped from the political landscape of Turkey, never to return under another name.