Two bullets fired at building of Turkish opposition party
ISTANBUL (Reuters) -The building of a Turkish opposition party in Istanbul was hit by two bullets overnight, its leader said on Friday, in what she described as an attempt to scare party members ahead of landmark presidential and parliamentary elections next month.
However, state-owned Anadolu news agency later cited police as saying that the shots had been fired by a construction site guard while pursuing thieves and that the bullets had hit the party building by chance, not by design.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the perpetrator had been caught.
There were no reports of anybody being hurt in the shooting, which targeted the Istanbul office of the right-wing IYI Party. One bullet hit the ground floor and another the third floor, IYI party leader Meral Aksener told reporters.
“This is an attempt to scare members of a political party just one month and a half before the elections. This is unacceptable. You cannot scare us but this is an insult to voters,” Aksener said.
The IYI Party is part of a six-party opposition alliance which has nominated Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) as their candidate to challenge President Tayyip Erdogan in the May 14 elections.
Next month’s elections mark the toughest political challenge yet for Erdogan, who has led the country for two decades but has seen his popularity tumble amid an economic crisis and the impact of a devastating earthquake in southeast Turkey.
While polls show him trailing Kilicdaroglu, however, the race remains tight and campaigning is only just beginning.
(Reporting by Huseyin Hayatsever;Editing by Daren Butler and Gareth Jones)