A watchman working in a construction site accidentally aimed at the Istanbul headquarters of the centre-right Good Party (İYİP) while chasing some burglars, the Turkish police said on Friday.
Turkey woke up on Friday morning to the news of an armed attack against the opposition party’s provincial headquarters. Two bullets hit the building, but nobody was injured or killed.
After the incident, İYİP leader Meral Akşener recalled the recent threatening statements President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had used against her. “Take away the bullets that are aimed at us, knowing your threats as their duty,” Akşener said, addressing Erdoğan in a statement from the Istanbul provincial building.
Many in Turkey saw the incident as the harbinger of what awaits the country in the run up to the 14 May elections, while Süleyman Soylu, the Minister of Interior in later hours announced that a suspect was arrested, advising Akşener to be careful when making accusations.
According to the Turkish police, the suspect is a watchman working in a nearby construction site in Istanbul’s Merter district. The watchman fired his registered gun a few times while he was chasing some burglars running in the direction of the İYİP provincial headquarters, the police said.
The watchman said in his testimony that three or four men had entered the construction site in an attempt to rob it, adding that he could not see their faces because it was very dark.
However, the officials of the İYİP have questioned the statements made by the authorities.
“We have not found those explanations convincing. The two bullets fired heaven knows why hit the Good Party building. We have no information about the exact time of the incident,” said Buğra Kavuncu, an advisor to Akşener, during a television programme on Friday.
“What a coincidence, in places both the bullets hit there is a photograph of our chairperson Meral Akşener,” Kavuncu said sarcastically.
“We could call this a criminal incident if such acts were not on the country’s agenda, such comment were not being made. But this is Turkey. We have received such threats numerous times. If a president utters such words, of course we witness such incidents,” the politician said, referring to Erdoğan.
In a TV broadcast he attended on Wednesday evening, Erdoğan addressed Akşener and said, “Be careful with our names. My name is Tayyip, and my last name is Erdoğan. Pay attention to Erdoğan, pay attention to the name of Tayyip. When you talk, speak accordingly. Don’t bother me with yourself.”
Akşener later on Twitter called on Erdoğan to calm down, advising him to drink camomile tea. The comments of Akşener were defined as disrespectful by officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) the next day.