Gunman trained by pro-Erdoğan contractor, says HDP deputy

Hüda Kaya, Istanbul deputy for pro-Kurdish left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), told reporters on Thursday that the party was privy to information that the man who attacked HDP’s İzmir offices had received weapons training from pro-Turkish government bodies in northern Syria.

“They would have tried to pass this man off as a crazy drunkard, but upon our research, we have obtained information on him,” Kaya said. “We have found that he was SADAT trained.”

On Thursday morning, three men walked past heavy police presence around HDP’s provincial offices and entered the mostly empty building. They opened fire minutes later, in a manner described by HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar as “completely raking through the building to kill anyone and everyone inside”, killing party member Deniz Poyraz.

According to Sancar, the men had prepared for a much larger scale massacre, as there was a meeting of HDP executives scheduled for the morning which was postponed until the afternoon at the last minute.

Video footage released by Pir News Agency shows the aftermath of the attack and signs of a systemic sweeping of the building by the three gunmen.

Two of the men fled the scene afterwards, while Onur Gencer was captured by police forces.

Turkish private military contractor SADAT was founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recently-resigned chief military adviser Adnan Tanrıverdi.

SADAT has been implicated, most recently by mob boss Sedat Peker, in the MİT trucks incident, where Turkey’s intelligence service is accused of having sent truckloads of weapons to al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists in northern Syria through the contractor.

 “As understood from his Instagram account, Onur Gencer served in the Manbij region to serve Turkish Armed Forces personnel and the Free Syrian Army as an emergency medic in early 2020,” Metin Gürcan, security expert and founding member of opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), said in a tweet.

Gencer’s Instagram account is littered with messages such as, “Armenian spawn, I will f*** your lives”, “I will make you spit blood”, accompanied by photos of the man in gun ranges with rifles, and photos tagged in northern Syria.

Gencer appears to be fighting alongside Turkish troops in the war-torn region, and has captioned a photo taken in Turkey’s border province of Gaziantep as “On the way back from duty”.

The gunman had previously been part of Turkey’s healthcare staff, but had “left via resignation” before Thursday’s events, Izmir governorate said in a statement.

Gencer had been working in the Kemalpaşa Public Hospital in Izmir until recently, and was in the process of getting fired as he had stopped showing up to work a while ago, daily BirGün reported.

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