One person was killed by unidentified assailants in an armed attack in front of an election bureau of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district late Feb. 12, according to the party.
The AKP confirmed that the slain man, Coşkun Demirkol, was among the party’s 168 candidates to run for the district’s council but denied that the campaign office was the target of the attack.
“Coşkun Demirkol was a candidate to run for the district council. But the fact that the attack happened in front of our election coordination center is pure coincidence,” AKP Beylikdüzü head Nevzat Demiröz told Anadolu Agency.
The fresh killing comes after an unprecedented string of attacks targeting parties ahead of the March 30 local polls.
An adviser for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Cengiz Akyıldız, was killed during an armed assault on a campaign office in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district in late January, triggering security concerns for the upcoming elections.
Tension rose higher after another gun assault on the municipal building in Şişli on Jan. 27, in an apparent attack on Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül. Sarıgül is the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) mayoral candidate for Istanbul.
The MHP’s election bureau in the left-wing Istanbul neighborhood of Okmeydanı was also the target of an attack last week, while gunmen also recently assaulted a campaign office of the Felicity Party (SP) in the northwestern province of Kocaeli.