Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul provincial branch chairwoman Canan Kaftancıoğlu announced that shots were fired in the immediate vicinity of the party offices at dawn on Thursday.
Security on site reported hearing six gunshots, and discovered bullet casings nearby. None of the bullets actually hit the CHP offices. The party has pressed charges, and the Istanbul prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation, Kaftancıoğlu said.
“We cannot accuse anybody of having done this,” CHP MP Özgür Özel said. “But we can also not say it’s wrong that the polarising language the People’s Alliance uses has triggered this.”
The ruling Justice and Development Party-led (AKP) People’s Alliance has targeted CHP and its Nation Alliance of opposition parties as part of its election campaign, most recently over CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu accidentally stepping on a prayer rug.
Centre-right opposition Good Party (İYİP) has also been targeted by gunmen in the past week, with several shots fired on a district office of the party in Istanbul. Two bullets hit the offices’ windows at dawn on 31 March.
İYİP chairwoman Meral Akşener gave an emotionally charged speech at parliament after the incident, bringing bullet casings that were discovered around the building. “You will brave all bullets and be a sun for our nation,” the former interior minister said, addressing her party members.
The main suspect for the İYİP shooting was a night watchman in a nearby construction site, and said he fired shots to scare off robbers in the night.
“İYİP Istanbul offices yesterday, CHP Istanbul offices today! Attacks won’t deter us from our path. Democracy and the will of the nation will prevail,” İYİP Istanbul Chairman Buğra Kavuncu said.
Turkey is headed towards parliamentary and presidential elections on 14 May, with polls favouring the opposition alliance, led by presidential candidate Kılıçdaroğlu, against the ruling AKP, that has held power in Turkey since 2002 with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan serving first as prime minister and later as president.