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Opposition party leader accuses Erdoğan of masterminding attack on him

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The leader of a small opposition party in Turkey who was the victim of a knife attack in his Ankara office last month accused President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of ordering the attack, Turkish media outlets reported.

Öztürk Yılmaz, leader of the Innovation Party (YP), sustained serious injuries in the attack.

The assailant, who fled the scene, was later arrested and jailed pending trial.

Yılmaz said during an interview with Veryansın TV that Erdoğan’s “men” carried out the attack and that it was an assassination attempt.

He said although the assailant has been arrested, there has been no progress in the investigation and that the mastermind has not been found by the authorities.

Also a former diplomat, Yılmaz was held hostage by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for 101 days in 2014. He announced in late 2022 that he would run in this year’s presidential election, openly accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of collaborating with the terrorist group.

Yılmaz, Turkey’s former consul general in Mosul, was taken hostage by the terrorist organization along with 48 staff members and dependents at the consulate after it was raided on June 11, 2014. All the hostages were released in October of the same year.

Starting his political career with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in 2015, Yılmaz was expelled from the CHP in 2018 and founded the YP, which he currently chairs, in 2020.

He announced during a meeting with party members in November that he would stand as a candidate in Turkey’s 2023 presidential election, saying he wanted to “fight, settle old scores and completely change the system that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan established.”

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