HDP shooter ‘no lone wolf’, says opposition deputy

Despite an official narrative to suggest that Onur Gencer shot up the Izmir offices of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as a crazed lone wolf, the shooting was “an organised fascist attack”, former HDP deputy Ahmet Şık said in a series of tweets on Friday.

Şık, an investigative journalist by trade and current member of Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP), said “the perpetrator of a planned political murder” was taken away from the public eye within 24 hours.

“Who does (Gencer) have relations with? Which political entities? What did he do in Syria? How did he procure his weapon? If it’s a registered firearm, how did he get a licence so easily? Why wasn’t the investigation expanded over his phone calls? Many more questions remain unanswered,” Şık said.

Gencer was taken into police custody on Thursday, shortly after entering the provincial offices of the HDP in Izmir and shooting up the building, which resulted in the death of party volunteer Deniz Poyraz by six bullet wounds. In his first testimony at the police station, Gencer told authorities that he “would have shot others too”, had he run into more people during his shooting spree.

The shooter said he had fired 10 rounds, however, there were at least 18 bullet holes documented by journalists after the fact.

Şık said a total of 33 bullet holes were discovered in the offices. “If his testimony is correct, who fired the remaining shots?” the TİP deputy asked.

“This is not a provocation, this political murder is an organised fascist attack,” Şık continued. “Every step of it has been planned, and carried out without hiding.”

“They are trying to make (us) believe the murderer is a crazed lone wolf. Yes he is a ‘wolf’, but he is not alone,” Şık said, implying a connection with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the government’s minor coalition partner in parliament whose youth organisation is called the Grey Wolves.

“Whoever organises the cocaine trade between South America and Turkey, whoever turned the judiciary into the centrepiece for the wheel of bribery, in whoever’s name 10 million euros were extorted, those are the perpetrators of this political murder,” Şık said. “So the established mafia order can continue.”

Şık pointed to MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli publishing several tweets denouncing any connection with the killer, and that Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu had not commented on the matter, despite more than a full day passing since.

The minister had posted on Twitter statistics about the value of drug busts in Turkey Thursday at midnight, and said, “We know why some are crying out.”

Soylu’s comparison was “a sign of clashes within the governing bloc and the state,” Şık said.

The taxi driver who was seen dropping off Gencer minutes before his deadly attack testified to the police on Friday, and said the shooter had been a regular customer of his, Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Gencer would take frequent rides to a hotel in Balçova, İzmir, to neighbouring Manisa province, and to the HDP offices.

“The administration of the Balçova Thermal Hotel was handed over to the public a few years ago,” Şık said. “The head of its board is the Izmir governor, and board members the governor’s deputies.”

“The hotel has hosted many events by the Izmir governorate, and among its guests was one Deputy Interior Minister,” Şık added.

Gencer’s further ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) include the shooting range he frequented, one Poligon İzmir, which is owned by İlhan Çelik.

Çelik heads the so-called Civil Society Movement, an AKP initiative, and has posed in photos with several AKP bureaucrats and politicians, journalist Bahadır Özgür said.

Journalist Tuğba Özer posted a photo from the shooting range’s own website that shows a district governor, a district police chief, and the local commander of the gendarmerie forces posing alongside Çelik.

Gencer “confessed that his target was higher-up politicians”, HDP deputy Tayip Temel said in a tweet. “He had heard that members of parliament were coming.”

According to the deputy, Gencer detailed who had trained him to use firearms in his new testimony at the court where he was arrested.

“The fact that the suspect was taken to the court house in a rush and sent to prison even before Deniz Poyraz was buried, the security forces not asking for additional time in custody to deepen the investigation shows us that the matter is seen as a simple case,” news website Bianet cited Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD) Ankara Chairman Att. Murat Yılmaz as saying.

Gencer’s testimony was taken not at the homicide bureau but the anti-terror unit, Yılmaz said.

“The police should have investigated his connections, gathered evidence, and asked him about the evidence as he testified. But they didn’t,” Yılmaz said. “They rushed his statement and sent him over.”

The investigation could have expanded to other individuals based on Gencer’s responses, the lawyer said.

“Of course the prosecution will also conduct investigations. The assailant’s arrest isn’t a hindrance to that,” Yılmaz added. “However, the speed with which the process was run creates unusual suspicion. The possibility of connections to terrorism alone was enough for extended detention.”