An opposition deputy was shot to death by another deputy in Turkey’s Parliament building today as political tension ran high after defeats for the ruling party in nationwide municipal elections.
The semiofficial Anatolian News Agency said Abdurrezak Ceylan, from the center-right True Path Party, died in a hospital after emergency surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest.
The agency said the alleged assailant, Idris Arikan, a member of Prime Minister Turgut Ozal’s Motherland Party, denied firing at Ceylan. He said the shot was fired by another deputy.
True Path Party leader and former Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel told reporters after the shooting: “This is a regretful, ugly incident. We have not had such an incident under this roof for half a century.”
Demirel said he did not believe that the shooting was politically motivated.
Parliament, whose members are allowed to carry guns in Turkey, reconvened Tuesday after a two-week recess with Ozal, a 61-year-old conservative, resisting calls to resign after his party finished third nationwide in Sunday’s voting.
The shooting occurred in a corridor of central Ankara’s parliamentary complex. Turkey’s security boss promptly ordered police to guard all political party buildings in the country.
Ceylan and Arikan were from the southeastern province of Siirt, near the Iraqi frontier--an area where separatist Kurdish rebels have been active for five years.
Arikan denied to the Anatolian News Agency that he shot Ceylan and said an independent Siirt deputy, Zeki Celiker, was to blame.
“Celiker intended to shoot me, but Ceylan attempted to protect me and was shot by Celiker,” he said.
It was not immediately clear whether anyone was detained in connection with the shooting.