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Assailant who staged attack at HDP office in İstanbul arrested after release

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An İstanbul court has ruled to arrest a man who staged an attack at an office of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in İstanbul’s Bahçelievler district in December after a prosecutor objected to his release, Turkish media outlets reported.

The assailant, identified as Muhammed Eren Sütçü, who was carrying a gun and a knife, injured two party employees during the attack on Dec. 28.

Sütçü appeared before an İstanbul court last Monday, when the court ruled for his release into house arrest, leading to widespread criticism.

However, he was later arrested, based on an objection from the prosecutor’s office. Since the investigation is under a confidentiality order, the details of the prosecutor’s objection are not known.

HDP sources said Sütçü attacked the party employees with a knife when his revolver jammed, hence a bigger tragedy was prevented. They also said the attacker, who was restrained thanks to the help of nearby store owners, threatened to kill all the people in the office.

The attack in Bahçelievler was the second such attack at an HDP office in 2021. Another assailant staged an attack at an HDP office in the western province of İzmir in June, killing a party employee.

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 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US. The party denies links to PKK and says it is working to achieve a peaceful solution to Turkey’s Kurdish issue and is only coming under attack because of its strong opposition to Erdoğan’s 19-year rule.

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