Turkey’s main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s convoy was subjected to an attack and gunfire on its way to the city of Artvin, north east Turkey, yesterday. A security officer was killed and three others were wounded.
Security forces and private security guards accompanying the convoy resisted the attackers who fired on the convoy killing one and injuring three others during an exchange of fire.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala told Turkey’s NTV news channel that three soldiers were injured in the exchange of fire and an operation had been launched to pursue the attackers. He added “Terrorists fired on members of the gendarmerie who were protecting the convoy. One was seriously wounded and two were slightly hurt”.
Sources said that the attackers opened fire on the gendarmerie accompanying the convoy that was travelling ahead of Kilicdaroglu’s car and the convoy. They added that Kilicdaroglu and his companions were caught in the crossfire between the gendarmes and the attackers.
Ala added that three soldiers were wounded in crossfire and that the operation to hunt down the attackers who are said to belong to the PKK organisation had started.
The government has accused the PKK of a series of attacks this month in the southeast of Turkey where the group has been fighting a war with the country for three decades. 40,000 people have died during this period whilst trying to gain independence in the south east of the country.
Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party, said in a telephone interview with NTV channel “Do not worry about us. We are fine and we are now in a safe place.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned Kilicdaroglu to make sure that he was alright after the Interior Minister Efkan Ala informed him of the attack. In a separate telephone call with NTV, Kilicdaroglu thanked Erdogan for his offer to send a plane to transport him to Ankara. However, Kilicdaroglu assured him by saying “Don’t worry about us. We are fine and we are now in a safe place.”