Attack on HDP in İzmir reminiscent of past violence

After the attack on the HDP office in Izmir and the murder of employee Deniz Poyraz, the government immediately began signaling its strategy to absolve themselves of any responsibility. It is apparent that they want us to think that this was not an organized attack, but the result of disgruntled healthcare worker with emotional problems. This reminds us of the wave of violence that occurred after the 2015 elections when the AKP lost its majority.

How does one clear a political assassin of murder charges? The method for this was employed after the bloody attack on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) office in İzmir last week, in which an employee named Deniz Poyraz was murdered. Poyraz, a young woman, was standing in for her mother who was sick that day.

The Office of the İzmir Governor issued a statement which said the attacker was a “former health care worker.” Neither name of the killer nor the victim was mentioned in the governor’s statement. If we naively think that the statement does not mention their names out of sensitivity, then could we know that the attacker is a former health care worker? Instead, perhaps they want us to think that this was not an organized attack, but an incident carried out by someone with certain mental problems.

The governor’s statement alone is not adequate to reach this conclusion, but there are facts pointing to it. The pro-government media first referred to the attack as an “armed clash.” Their thought process goes like this: If there is HDP present at the scene, if there were shots fired, if someone died, then it is a ‘clash.’ This justification is the same as the attacker’s, who saw a legal political party (HDP) as an illegal armed organization (PKK). It is a perspective supported by saying, “a former health worker who has resigned from his job” from the statement of the Office of the İzmir Governor. The implication is that health workers are already on the fritz; their problems due to the pandemic have multiplied. If this guy ‘resigned’ then probably he couldn’t take the pressure, probably his mental health isn’t good. Otherwise, why would this be included in the official statement?

The third attempt to exonerate the killer came after the statement of the governor, when ‘first’ statement from his interrogation was leaked to the press, in which he said, “I have no connection to anyone. I entered the building because I hated the PKK; I fired randomly.”

His name and connections are not revealed but his ‘emotional motivation’ is made public. Since he is not going to say, “I hate the HDP,” or “I hate the Kurds,” of course he is going to name the PKK. Look at his profile: He quit his job. He hates the PKK. He woke up one day and committed murder. How could it be a coincidence that this piece of information is the first to be released by an ‘authority’ (Office of the Governor, police, thus the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Justice) which intends to solve the case and is investigating those individuals or groups who may have directed the attacker? They are trying to portray the attack, which could have been planned and was likely organized, as the result of a personal, psychological motivation. There is no better way to absolve themselves of a murder. The only better option would be that if he had run away, if he had never been caught.

Before the prosecution began, even before the investigation, these are clear indications of how the murder is going to be approached from the legal perspective. We will soon see who he has been photographed with in the social media, but that does not matter. His connections may be revealed, but that does not matter. It is apparent that the argument that “this is an isolated case of someone with emotional problems” will be pursued.

If a person living in Turkey sees the PKK and HDP as the same, it is because this view is expressed continuously at all levels of government. Even when Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu was defending himself against mafia boss Sedat Peker, he stated the same “they are equal” argument. Doesn't the MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli sing the same song day and night?

The issue is not just a matter of the collective mentality being affected by this propaganda. Mehmet Eymür, a retired Turkish intelligence officer, who has also been involved in the debate caused by Peker, was interviewed by journalist İsmail Saymaz on May 18. He said, “The end of this course of events is political murders.” Parallel to Eymür, when mafia boss Sedat Peker said “an attack against the Alevis is being planned,” he is not just pulling it out of thin air.

The first official statements and the first developments such as the leaking of the suspect’s statements during police interrogation remind us of the wave of violence that occurred after the June 7, 2015 elections when the AKP lost its majority, such as the Suruç and Ankara train station attack when dozens of people lost their lives.

As a political party, the HDP is under constant surveillance. An attack on one of its offices isn’t easy. In any attack against the HDP, the routine includes stories about “the reaction to terrorism” and “the individual rage of a person or a group,” but are never adequate to conceal the fact that those attacks were carried out in a planned manner.

The political masters are now facing an election, a choice against murder. They will either chose to raise a collective voice against the murderous front by opting for democracy, or the actions of the cheap, dirty, and bloody acts of the murderous font will be condemned with a couple of statements. Everything will be the same with added dreams to win the first ‘election.’


March 24, 2021 A Turkey without Kurds