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1 employee injured in attack at pro-Kurdish party building in İstanbul

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An assailant carrying a gun and a knife attacked staff at a pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) building in İstanbul’s Bahçelievler district on Tuesday, injuring a party employee, Turkish media outlets reported.

The attacker, whose revolver jammed, stabbed the employee with a knife.

Media reports initially said there were two assailants, but HDP Bahçelievler district branch president Mehmet Kuzu said there was one assailant who entered the building saying he wanted to become an HDP member.

Kuzu said party officials served tea to the man, aged around 25, who later took out his knife and gun and attacked an employee. The assailant was restrained thanks to the help of nearby store owners.

“I will kill you all,” the assailant shouted, according to media reports.

He was later taken into custody by the police.

The HDP released a statement on Twitter, saying it was not an isolated incident and was similar to an attack at an HDP building in İzmir last June that claimed the life of party employee Deniz Poyraz, whose killer will stand trial at an İzmir court starting on Wednesday.

“These attacks can’t intimidate us. Our people give them the strongest answer by standing behind their party, and they will continue to do so,” tweeted the HDP.

The murder of Poyraz, 38, came at a time of increased pressure on the party, which is accused of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US, as it faces a closure case on terrorism charges and when hundreds of its politicians including two former co-chairs are behind bars on politically motivated charges.

HDP İstanbul provincial co-chairperson Ferhat Encü tweeted about the attack on Tuesday, that a disaster was barely averted thanks to the assailant’s gun jamming.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as their election partner, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP,) have long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the PKK. The party denies links to PKK and says it is working to achieve a peaceful solution to Turkey’s Kurdish problem and is only coming under attack because of its strong opposition to Erdoğan’s 19-year rule.

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