Assailant says has no regrets about murdering HDP employee

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Onur Gencer, who killed a party employee in an attack at the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) office in western Turkey in June, has said he has no regrets about the murder, Turkish media outlets reported.

The second hearing in Gencer’s trial for the murder of 38-year-old Deniz Poyraz took place at a high criminal court in İzmir on Monday.

Gencer, 27, who admitted to killing Poyraz, turned himself in to the police and was arrested by a criminal court of peace the next day. He faces aggravated life on charges of premeditated murder and an additional seven years on charges of violating the privacy of a workplace and damaging buildings and property used by a political party.

“I have no regrets about the bloody raid I carried out due to a series of traumas I experienced because of the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and in a bid to get rid of them. I want an investigation into Deniz Poyraz and her family. I think Poyraz was responsible for the murder of many intelligence officers,” Gencer said in court as he began to deliver his defense.

The PKK, which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984, is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

Gencer said he made plans in his youth to get revenge for the lives taken by the PKK, that learned how to use a gun and got a license to carry one in order to carry out his plan. He said his desire for revenge overwhelmed him and he decided to attack the HDP building to cause the least damage to “innocent” people.

“If I had arrived there five minutes earlier, it would have been bloodier,” he said.

It has emerged that Gencer previously posted photos on social media making an ultranationalist hand gesture associated with the Grey Wolves, a far-right paramilitary group with close ties to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as their election partner, the MHP, have long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the PKK. The party denies links to the 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.

The Kurdish issue, a term prevalent in Turkey’s public discourse, refers to the demand for equal rights by the country’s Kurdish population and their struggle for recognition.

The murder of Poyraz came at a time of increased pressure on the party as it faces a closure case on terrorism charges.

Hundreds of HDP politicians including two former co-chairs are behind bars on politically motivated charges.

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