Turkish court arrests man for stabbing imam in Istanbul

A Turkish court has arrested the man who stabbed an imam in Istanbul over “attempted murder.” During the prayer on Jan. 8, the attacker was taken out of the mosque after shouting “Muslims, don’t sleep.” After the prayer, he stabbed the Fatih Mosque’s imam and one person from the congregation.

Duvar English

An Istanbul court on Jan. 9 arrested the man with initials Ö.S. after he stabbed two people, including Fatih Mosque imam Galip Usta, over “attempted murder.”

During a prayer on Jan. 8, the attacker shouted “Muslims, don’t sleep.” İmam Galip Usta then asked Ö.S. to leave the mosque and he was taken out by private security guards.

After the prayer, Ö.S. entered the mosque and said that he wanted to talk to Usta. Then, he stabbed the imam and Bilal ERdem, from the mosque congregation who tried to intervene, Ferhat Yaşar from Gazete Duvar reported.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Jan. 9 announced that both the imam and Erdem had been receiving treatment and were not in life-threatening conditions.

Regarding the condition of the imam, Bezmialem Vakıf University Chief Physician Alpaslan Mayadağlı said “The patient is in stable health. He was brought to the hospital very quickly. Without an effective intervention on time, there was a very high risk of losing our patient. It is a great advantage that the stab did not hit the esophagus. He's been hit in the neck and chest. The blow to the trachea is being treated.”

“Whether this was a provocation or not will become clear after the investigation by the police and the prosecutor's office. This is a brutal attack. We convey our condolences to the imam, who is also our member. We will continue to do whatever we need to do legally,” Diyanet Sen head Ali Yıldız told Gazete Duvar, which is the labor union founded by civil servants working in the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet).

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Murat Kurum on Jan. 9 visited the imam at the hospital.