A member of the Mesopotamia Workers’ Association was shot three times in front of the association’s offices in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Sulaymaniyah province, local outlets reported.
The man, identified as Hüseyin Arasan by Roj News, had moved to Sulaymaniyah from Turkey due to what his associates say were politically motivated lawsuits.
Arasan’s shooting was the latest in a series of attempted assassinations against political asylum seekers in Iraqi Kurdistan. In April, Hüseyin Türeli was shot seven times in front of his pastry shop in Dohuk. Türeli had also moved to the country more than 10 years ago after facing prison time in Turkey.
In Sulaymaniyah, Zeki Çelebi, who had been the chairman of the association at the time, was killed in a similar shooting last year, as was feminist theorist and activist Nagihan Akarsel. Süheyl Xurid Eziz was also shot dead in 2022, and 2021 saw former guerrilla Yasin Bulut assassinated on his way to a medical treatment, while political asylum seeker Ferhat Barış Kondu survived a shooting in front of his workplace.
The association had pointed to Turkey’s and Iraqi Kurdish ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party’s intelligence services as the culprit in the series of deaths. While the shooters in the most recent case of Arasan remain unknown, the attack closely mirrors previous ones.
“We face threats and blackmail from Turkish intelligence and security services constantly here,” association chairman at the time Musa Çiftçi had said after Kondu’s shooting. UN and local authorities “must take initiative to ensure safety for political asylum seekers”, Çiftçi said.