Skip to main content

Turkey pro-Kurdish party says leader escapes assassination attempt

HDP's Demirtas was in Diyarbakir in armoured vehicle with police protection when a bullet was reportedly fired at his car
People's Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtas visits Kobane city of Aleppo, Syria on 30 September (AA)

The co-chairman of Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party was targeted by an assassination attempt while travelling in his official vehicle but escaped unharmed, his party said on Monday.

Selahattin Demirtas of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was in his armoured vehicle in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir late Sunday when it was hit by a single bullet at head height, the party said in a statement.

Demirtas "survived the assassination attempt unharmed thanks to the bullet-proof vehicle (in which) he was riding," the HDP said on its official Twitter feed.

The pro-Kurdish Firat news agency said that neither Demirtas nor his guards had heard a shot being fired but noticed the bullet mark when getting out of the car at the end of the journey.

There was also no indication that any bullet or cartridge had been found at the scene.

In a statement, the governor's office of Diyarbakir said the car had been examined by the authorities and a mark three centimetres (1.2 inches) in width and height had been found on the left side of the rear window.

But it said no sign had been found that this was caused by "any kind of firearm" and it had in fact been produced by a "collision with a very hard object".

The statement said that Demirtas had been given police protection throughout his stay in Diyarbakir and during this time "no kind of attack against him or against his vehicle has been realised".

The incident comes with tensions riding high in Turkey as the army presses a four-month offensive against militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist group by Ankara, the EU, the US and other countries.