Turkey: Three killed in gunfight during campaign visit by AKP politician

#TurkeyPolitics

Conflicting reports have emerged on the circumstances behind the deadly incident, a week ahead of elections

The deadly gunfight occurred just days ahead of Turkey's parliamentary and presidential elections
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Last update: 
Thursday 14 June 2018 20:13 UTC

Three people were killed in southeast Turkey on Thursday when a fight broke out between a lawmaker's campaign team and some local shopkeepers, security sources said.

Ibrahim Halil Yildiz, an MP from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was visiting shops in the Suruc district of Sanliurfa province when a fight broke out between his entourage and shopkeepers, the sources said.

There were conflicting reports about the circumstances of the killings, with pro-government media saying Yildiz and his supporters came under attack from opponents armed with knives and sticks.

The state-run Anadolu described it as an attack against AKP, and claimed that supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) were among those involved in the attack.

But unconfirmed reports on pro-Kurdish media blamed bodyguards of the MP for the attack, after he was met with hostility during the visit to the shopkeepers.

Yildiz’s brother and two people from the opposing side were killed in the subsequent gun fight, security sources said, adding that eight more people were hospitalised.

Police said they detained around 10 people.

Suruc, a mainly Kurdish town, was the scene of a bombing that killed 34 people and wounded about 100 on 20 July 2015, blamed on the Islamic State (IS) group.

The bombing sparked huge tensions in Turkey at the time, with many Kurdish activists taking to the streets and accusing the government of not doing enough in the fight against IS.

Turkey is now entering what is expected to be a tense final week of campaigning ahead of the polls.

Analysts are forecasting that the parliamentary and presidential elections will be tight, with Erdogan possibly pushed into a run-off and his ruling party at risk of losing its overall majority.