An influential Turkish opposition lawmaker has been injured after unidentified assailants attacked and shot him. The incident took place in a restaurant in the city of Aydin in southwest Turkey.
Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported that the deputy leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Bulent Tezcan, was in a stable condition following the attack on his life. Tezcan was shot in the leg with a handgun, Anadolu said. The injuries were reported to be not life-threatening.
According to the Haberturk news channel, the attack happened in the city of Aydin, Tezcan’s constituency. The motives of the assailant or assailants were not clear. There were conflicting reports over a single gunman operating as opposed to more than one. Police were reportedly pursuing the perpetrator.
Tensions in Turkey’s southeast have been on the rise since the failed coup attempt in July 2016 and after a series of deadly attacks on civilians this year, which have been blamed both on the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) as well as on the self-styled “Islamic State” (IS) group.
Tezcan had risen to prominence after being injured during a fistfight in the Turkish parliament in 2014.
Earlier in the year, the motorcade of CHP chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu had come under attack, as he was shot at by unidentified men with automatic weapons. The incident has been claimed by the PKK. Kilicdaroglu escaped the assault unharmed but three Turkish soldiers were injured in an ensuing exchange of fire.
The worsening security situation in Turkey, coupled with the country’s ongoing interference with operations against IS in both Iraq and in Syria, has led to the US State Department to order the families of US consulate employees to leave Istanbul.
In a speech in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that he would ask parliament to consider reintroducing the death penalty.
“Our government will take this [proposal on capital punishment] to parliament,” Erdogan said. “I am convinced that parliament will approve it, and when it comes back to me, I will ratify it.”
Reports about the torture of detainees who are alleged to have participated in the planning of the July 15 coup attempt have also put the country’s worsening human right record in the spotlight.