A deputy from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) late on June 9 threw a punch at main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) group deputy chair Özgür Özel at the parliament.
The incident happened as tensions ran high in the parliament as CHP lawmakers protested the removal of the parliamentary status of Enis Berberoğlu by deliberately slowing down a voting process at the parliament.
CHP lawmakers went into voting booths to cast their votes for Court of Accounts (“Sayıştay” in Turkish) members but extended the process, as a result of which the voting came to an end in four hours, instead of 45 minutes. “Our friends who went into the booths are casting their votes thinking ‘Enis Berberoğlu is not here, if he were here what would he do? How would he decide?’” Özel said.
Upon this protest, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) tried to block CHP deputies from holding a speech, which led to an argument and consequently a brief recess at the parliament.
Özel told Halk TV that it was at this point that MHP deputy Olcay Kılavuz attempted to punch him from behind. Although the punch missed Özel, his glasses fell.
“Afterwards, one of our [CHP] deputies gave the necessary response to him, returning his attack,” Özel said, adding he has been later notified that Kılavuz “has incurred a severe injury.”
“My friends repelled this ugly, treacherous attack from behind on me. They [MHP] utilized physical force as they failed to defeat us through words,” Özel said.
CHP vice chair Tuncay Özkan slammed the attack on Özel saying the party will “never make concessions to vandalism.” “The parliament will speak of our problems. It will look for solutions. It will work. We will never quail,” Özkan wrote on Twitter.