Gunman aimed for massacre, HDP Co-chair says

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) İzmir provincial chapter had cancelled at the last minute a large-scale meeting with over 40 administrators expected to attend, party co-chair Mithat Sancar told reporters following the attack on party offices on Thursday.

“This is a vile attack, and a murder that came as all stood watch,” Sancar said. “This was not a plan to randomly kill one person.”

The murderer’s goal was “to carry out a massacre,” Sancar said, as gunman Onur Gencer arrived at the party headquarters at the time of the scheduled meeting.

“The murderer raked through the building, in the fullest sense of the word,” Sancar said. “He was shooting to kill anyone and everyone inside.”

Sancar said the attack was “a clear provocation” that “all must see”, accusing the government of “attempting to silence the opposition via threats and blackmail”.

The HDP co-chair said the attack was “a continuation of bloody plots of the past”, reminiscent of the period between two general elections in 2015. “It is not for nothing that we keep speaking about the period between June 7 and Nov. 1,” Sancar said.

On June 7, 2015, the HDP won 13 percent of the vote and some 80 seats out of the 600 in Turkey’s parliament, ending the supermajority of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliament since 2002 when it first took power.

The summer that followed saw a 2.5-year-long peace process between Ankara and armed Kurdish militia fail, and several bombings that were later attributed to or claimed by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) kill hundreds of civilians, mostly left-wing activists and HDP supporters.

AKP won back its majority in the repeat elections on Nov. 1, and has intensified a crackdown on its opponents since.

“It is not only us who remembers June 7,” Sancar said. “The head of the government, AKP’s leader, openly says that they have not forgotten that date.”

“Don’t forget the AKP leader’s comments after a lynching attempt on the Good Party,” Sancar said.

“Worse days are yet to come,” Erdoğan had said after centre-right Good Party (İYİP) leader Meral Akşener was targeted by the president’s supporters in the Black Sea region, and that Akşener had been “taught a lesson”.

“Everybody must see and speak clearly that the HDP wasn’t the only or even main target of this attack,” Sancar said, citing the allegations infamous mobster Sedat Peker has been voicing in his series of several tell-all videos.

“A plan for chaos, calculations for some domestic conflict have been put into motion, we are aware of this,” Sancar said.

“Our pain is vast, our rage deep. But, our determination for democratic politics runs at least as sharp as our pain and our rage,” Sancar added, stressing a call for a law-based and democratic struggle.

Peker also commented on the attack, saying, “Attacks much bigger than the provocation attack on HDP’s İzmir chapter will unfortunately come in the coming term.”

“If you trust my experience and sincerity, under no circumstances should you take to the streets,” the mobster said. “If you do, Deep Mehmet and his men will invoke their inside men in terrorist organisations and burn everything down.”

The Mehmet in question appears to be former interior minister Mehmet Ağar, who Peker has accused of ties to a murder committed allegedly to cover up his son’s rape of a young woman. The son, Tolga Ağar, is currently an AKP deputy.

If opposition parties leave the job of “fighting to the end to hold murderers to account” to the HDP alone, Sancar said, “then they would make those who plan for this chaos happy”.