Turkish boxer Ünsal Arık, a staunch opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) known for his devotion to the Turkish Republic’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, has announced on social media that he was attacked by Erdoğan supporters.
European Champion Arık, who lives in Germany, shared a photo of his bloodstained shirt in a tweet that said both in Turkish and German: “A day of reckoning will come. Your attack was braver than the last one. Try attacking from the front next time. Your furtiveness doesn’t surprise me. You have the knife, I have the courage.”
Back in August, Arık also informed the public he had received a death threat when someone left an envelope containing a single bullet on his windshield.
“There was an envelope on my windshield today with a single bullet inside. I see your point, and that’s all well. Whatever will be will be… Have a nice day everyone,” the boxer tweeted on Aug. 16.
Arık also received a death threat on the phone barely a week after he found the bullet.
As to the perpetrators, Arık indicated on Twitter that although he didn’t suspect any single individual, he was “100 percent certain that they are supporters of Erdoğan” and the ruling AKP.
“If I’m killed one day, know that it was at the hands of Tayyip supporters,” he said in a tweet, adding that the caller who threatened him said that “it’s God’s orders to kill the faithless.”
He also tweeted in September that he found his car tires slashed, a situation he was told could lead to a deadly accident. “Are you this bothered by me breathing, being alive? Don’t you fear God at all?” he asked, addressing the perpetrators.
According to Arık’s further comments on social media, what prompted the threats and the attacks was his criticism of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) and President Erdoğan in interviews he had given to German media outlets.
The boxer said what he told them was that mosques in Turkey had become places of politics rather than religion, that the AKP government interfered in these places and that the Diyanet wasn’t what it used to be.