The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday launched an investigation following a statement by pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Garo Paylan announcing that he had received intelligence about assassination plans targeting Turkish citizens living in Europe.
Speaking during a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday, Paylan said: “I received intelligence last week about plans of assassination or a chain of assassinations targeting our citizens living in Europe, particularly those in Germany. The information I have was verified by multiple sources.”
He added that the intelligence points to three assassins.
Paylan was invited to testify in the investigation, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.
“Thousands of academics, journalists, politicians and opinion leaders have been forced to leave for Europe, in particular because of the latest oppressive policies of the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party],” Paylan added.
“These journalists and academics have been labeled as ‘traitors’ by the government, the president and the media. Such discourse in politics unfortunately triggers action by certain groups,” he stressed.
According to Paylan, the plotters have a list of assassinations in their hands. He also said he informed Turkish intelligence, the police and relevant ministers about the tip.
Paylan’s statement came days after pro-Erdoğan journalists threatened exiled Gülen movement members.
Aydın Ünal, a former speechwriter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and current AKP deputy, threatened Turkish journalists in exile with extrajudicial killings in a column published on Dec. 4 in the pro-Erdoğan Yeni Şafak daily.
The AKP deputy listed the names of journalists to be targeted: Ekrem Dumanlı, Adem Yavuz Arslan, Celil Sağır, Bülent Keneş, Abdülhamit Bilici, Erhan Başyurt, Emre Uslu, Akın İpek and Can Dündar.
Pro-government Yeni Şafak daily columnist Hikmet Genç, a staunch supporter of Erdoğan, said on Dec. 14 that followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, who are blamed by the Turkish government for a failed coup last year, will soon not be able to walk freely in the US, threatening them by saying, “Don’t rest at easy at night.”
“We will destroy them all here in our time, God willing. They will be buried like dogs among crosses [Christians] in places like Pennsylvania. They will not be able to find an imam to recite [the final prayer at their funeral]. They will be buried in the land of infidels. There is no place even for their coffins here. I won’t accept it. Their coffins should be burned. I have no respect [for their dead],” he said.
On Dec. 20, 2016, pro-government journalists Cem Küçük and Fuat Uğur, both staunch supporters of President Erdoğan, suggested during a live TV program that Turkish intelligence should assassinate prominent people, mainly journalists and academics who are linked to the faith-based Gülen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of being behind a failed coup last year.
Küçük named former Zaman daily Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, former Today’s Zaman columnist Emre Uslu, former Today’s Zaman Ankara Representative Abdullah Bozkurt and former Today’s Zaman columnist professor İhsan Yılmaz as the first to be assassinated.
“Blow the brains out of three to five of them. Look how frightened they’ll be. Kill that Ekrem Dumanlı, Emre Uslu now… Abdullah Bozkurt lives in Stockholm. His home address is known by the [Turkish] state. [Turkish intelligence] knows where Emre Uslu lives. All those dastards. The dog known as İhsan Yılmaz travels around Australia and New Zealand,” he said.