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3 suspects detained over deadly attack at liquor store in İstanbul

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Three suspects have been detained as part of an investigation into a recent attack at a liquor store in the Esenyurt district of İstanbul that resulted in the loss of two lives, local media reported on Monday.

According to a statement from the İstanbul Governor’s Office over the weekend, suspects M.Ö., A.Ö., T.Ö. and S.Ö. went to the liquor store and opened fire on July 28, injuring the individuals inside, identified as Y.E.E., B.B. and Y.E. They then fled the scene in a vehicle.

The statement added that while Y.E.E. and B.E. succumbed to their injuries after being taken to the hospital, Y.E. is still receiving treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.

The governor’s office further stated that suspect M.Ö. was captured by the authorities on July 29.

A news report by the Demirören News Agency (DHA) revealed that there was a financial dispute between the suspects and the owners of the liquor store.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya on Monday announced in a tweet that suspect S.Ö. was apprehended following the capture of M.Ö., adding that efforts are ongoing to catch the remaining suspects.

Following Yerlikaya’s announcement, authorities also said another suspect, H.A., who police claim helped the attackers escape, was detained.

Meanwhile, on Sunday President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s adviser, Oktay Saral, called for capital punishment for M.Ö. and the other suspects in a tweet.

“There is life for you in retaliation,” Saral said, recalling verse 2:179 of the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as a part of reforms to facilitate Turkey’s accession to the European Union, although the death penalty had not been used since 1984.

Restoring capital punishment is a topic Erdoğan frequently talks about, especially ahead of elections.

Footage from the liquor store’s security cameras circulated on social media, sparking anger over the audacity of the attackers, with many sharing frustration with what they see as the government’s lax attitude toward violent crime.

Some linked the attack to recent changes in the law that enables the release of certain convicted criminals.

According to amendments to Law no 5275 on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures that were published in the Official Gazette on July 15, some inmates will have the opportunity until July 31 to transition from closed prisons to open prisons three years earlier and subsequently be eligible for release. Among these prisoners are those convicted of murder, causing injury, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, fraud, theft, robbery, bribery and drug-related offenses.

Other amendments to the same law, which were approved in parliament on April 13, 2020 after the justice minister announced that 17 prisoners in five prisons had contracted COVID-19 and three had died, had allowed for the temporary release of up to 90,000 prisoners of some 300,000 inmates.

Among the inmates who benefited from temporary release, those who had five years or less remaining in their sentence were not returned to prison.

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