A Turkish court has denied a request for pre-trial detention of the main suspect in a 2021 armed attack on the Istanbul offices of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish opposition, Mezopotamya Agency reported. The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is repeatedly targeted for its pro-Kurdish stance.
Muhammed Eren Sütçü faces multiple charges, including “armed threat”, “insult” and “attempted armed assault” for the 28 December 2021 attack, in the case being heard at Bakırköy 18th Heavy Penal Court.
HDP member Ismail Günay, who was present during the attack, testified that Sütçü entered the Bahçelievler district office under the guise of wanting to become a member. He then assaulted Ramazan Dişarı, who had offered him tea, and pointed a gun at Günay. Sütçü allegedly threatened, “You will die. Istanbul will soon talk about me. Three corpses will come out of here.” Günay added that the gun failed to fire despite Sütçü pulling the trigger multiple times. Günay, who was also injured, has filed a complaint against Sütçü.
Sütçü, however, refuted these claims, insisting he neither threatened anyone nor pointed a gun.
Lawyers for the victims argued that the attack was premeditated and called for Sütçü’s detention until the trial. They also filed a criminal complaint against two potential witnesses, Kürşat Arslan and İbrahim Vural, whose testimonies are pending.
The court decided against pre-trial detention for Sütçü and ruled that the criminal complaint against Arslan and Vural would be evaluated after their testimonies. The next hearing is scheduled for 24 January 2024.
In Turkey, crimes against opposition parties, particularly those with a pro-Kurdish stance, often go unpunished, contributing to a climate of state-sanctioned impunity. In regions with a Kurdish majority, incidents such as fatal car crashes involving security forces’ vehicles frequently occur, resulting in child casualties and little to no accountability. Kurdish civil society organisations and human rights defenders also highlight the ongoing harassment of Kurdish women by members of the Turkish security forces, which rarely leads to any legal consequences.