Pro-Kurdish politician stabbed in Turkish capital
A Turkish politician was stabbed repeatedly in the capital Ankara on Tuesday, in an attack that his pro-Kurdish party blamed on a government-led ‘lynch campaign’ against it.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned the stabbing of Ahmet Karatas, a member of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and denied the government had done anything tomake him a target. He said a suspect had been detained and had confessed.
Mutual recriminations are running high because of what Kurds see as Turkey’s failure to protect their ethnic kin just across the border in Syria. Dozens of people were killed last month in unrest in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast.
Politician Ahmet Karatas was knifed in the neck and leg, a party official told Reuters.
An HDP statement said he had been stabbed some seven times in the attack at the party’s offices in Ankara.
Karatas was being treated in intensive care in hospital.
Kurds accuse the Turkish army of standing by and just watching as Islamic State fighters besiege the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, just across the border. While Ankara has refused to intervene militarily, it allowed Iraqi Kurdish fighters to cross into Kobani with arms and ammunition from Turkey last week.
The HDP accused the government and media of turning its leader and representatives into targets with anti-Kurdish statements and reports in recent days.
“We warn the government once more in the face of this dangerous development and call on it to abandon this sustained lynch campaign,” it said.
Davutoglu rejected the accusation. “During the Kobani incidents, the HDP with its statements turned not only the government but all our citizens in the east and the whole of Turkey into targets. We never turned anyone into a target,” he told reporters.
The government and the HDP have accused each other of fuelling the recent unrest and damaging a peace processlaunched by Ankara and Kurdish militants to end three decades of conflict in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.