Crowds first tried to attack the building and stoned a bus transporting the party’s activists. Photo: Hurriyet Daily
ANKARA, Turkey – Crowds of hundreds attacked members of the pro-Kurdish and leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Tuesday, hurling rocks at the party building and a bus carrying co-chairperson Sebahat Tuncel.
The attack, at an opening ceremony for the HDP’s district headquarters in the central Anatolian province of Aksaray, followed for two days.
Crowds first tried to attack the building and stoned a bus transporting the party’s activists, as well as Tuncel. The next day, about 5,000 returned and attempted to storm the HDP building in Aksaray. At least 30 people were reportedly injured in the violence.
“We went to our party building to hold an opening ceremony two days ago. But I was shocked to see hundreds of people gathering in front of our party building within an hour and starting to attack us with whatever they could find,” Muhittin Yilmaz, the head of the HDP’s Aksaray branch, told Rudaw.
“The next day, there were thousands of them. We got stuck inside our party building. And today, we did not go to our office for security reasons,” he said, expressing fear for the safety of party members, in a city where tensions continue.
“For two days the police have been waiting in the street where our party building is located. We have received information that bigger attacks against us can take place,” Yilmaz said.
“The aggressors are making calls on the Internet. They say that they will gather again and try to remove our signboard. None of our members is safe in this city. Three university students who wanted to support us were beaten and injured yesterday,” he added.
Yilmaz said that their problems started when they first tried to rent a building for their branch office: “We made deals with 18 people to rent their offices. We paid our rents but a few days later they decided not to let us rent their offices.”
Similar attacks took place in the Kadikoy town of Istanbul and Urla, and the Dikili and Karsiyaka towns of Izmir last month.
HDP buildings and buses in those towns were reportedly attacked by Turkish nationalists brandishing stones, sticks and iron bars. The aggressors reportedly broke the windows of buses carrying HDP members and tried to lynch those inside.
HDP is an umbrella party for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and aims to collecting all leftist groups under its wing.
Selahattin Isik, BDP representative of the Aegean Region and council member of BDP, told Rudaw that the HDP is attacked not because it is a leftist party, but because it is a pro-Kurdish party.
“I think that the lynching attempts in Urla were organized by the police. The aggressors cooperated with the police. Even the governor of the province confessed that implicitly,” he claimed.
“They shouted slogans such as ‘Dirty Kurds, go back to your hometowns’ and ‘Down with the Kurds.’ Isik said.
“They attacked us with sharp objects. These attacks aim at driving Kurds out of the Aegean region. It was a miracle that none of our friends lost their lives during the attacks, which lasted for two days,” he said.
“They attacked us to lynch, destroy and kill us.”