Turkish military dismisses sergeant over involvement in attack against İmamoğlu's rally

The Turkish military has dismissed a sergeant from service over his involvement in the attack against Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu’s rally in the eastern Erzurum province.

Duvar English

The Turkish Defense Ministry has announced that it has dismissed a specialized sergeant from the military for his involvement in the May 7 attack against Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu’s election bus in the eastern Erzurum province.

“An immediate administrative investigation was launched against the specialized sergeant and as a result of the investigation, his contract was cancelled,” the ministry said in a written statement on May 9.   

The specialized sergeant M. Akif Keleş told in his testimony to the court that when supporters of İmamoğlu “made victory sign,” he got mad and shouted, ‘You can’t chant (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) PKK slogan,’” according to reporting by Demirören news agency. 

“Here is Erzurum, they can’t make victory sign here…I didn’t use insulting words. I threw the coins in my hand in a way not to hurt people,” he said, adding that he “could not keep his calmness and was sorry to be involved in this incident.” 

In its headline on May 9, the pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper alleged that the specialized sergeant had been investigated over charges linked to the Gülen network, referred to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) by Ankara.

The newspaper gave the news with the title of “FETÖ’s trace came out from the provocation.” Taking into account the accusatory remarks of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and ministers against İmamoğlu, the question then arose if the rulership was in support of an attack with “traces to FETÖ.”

İmamoğlu’s rally was marked with violence on May 7 as a mob threw stones at the gathering and the election bus. Seventeen people, including children, were injured in the attack. Fifteen people were detained over the attack on May 8, but they were later all released.

State-run Anadolu Agency reported that nine more people were detained on May 9, all similarly to be released later on.