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Turkish opposition reports armed assault as election tension grows


ISTANBUL- Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) says bullets were fired near the party’s Istanbul headquarters early on Thursday, adding an investigation is under way.

The CHP believes that the “armed assault’’ targeted the party building in Istanbul’s Seyrantepe district where “6-7 shots were fired,’’ CHP Istanbul provincial head Canan Kaftancıoğlu wrote on Twitter.

No bullets hit the building but police and private security guards confirmed the shots, and empty cases were found nearby, Kaftancıoğlu added.

The suspected attack comes a week after two bullets hit the CHP-allied İyi (Good) Party’s Istanbul headquarters, the bullets hit by chance while a security guard was chasing thieves, the government said.

Political tensions have recently increased ahead of the May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections, considered the country’s most consequential vote in decades.

İyi Party leader Meral Akşener claimed the attack is meant to scare the opposition and comes shortly after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “threatened’’ her during a TV interview.

“Do not make me come at you,“ Erdoğan had said, referring to Akşener’s strong criticism of his government.

Earlier, on Wednesday, in a dramatic parliamentary party group address, Akşener threw bullet casings on the ground, calling on people to vote against “Kim Jong’s soul mate,’’ referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and without naming Erdoğan.

“You will choose between a Turkey that aspires to become North Korea and a Turkey which enjoys democracy with European standards,’’ she added.

Recent elections in Turkey have faced upheavals and controversy. Local elections in Istanbul in 2019 had to be renewed due to fraud allegations.

Presidential hopefuls include the incumbent Erdoğan and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, along with two smaller party candidates.

Latest polls foresee a tight race between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.(dpa/NAN)

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