DIYARBAKIR, Turkey – A local official of the ruling party in Turkey has been killed in the southeastern province of Van Saturday night, the second killing to hit the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in two days.
Several armed men kidnapped Aydin Ahi, the deputy head of the party’s local office in Ozlap district in Van near his house Saturday at about 10:30 p.m. Locals say they heard gunshots nearby, only to find the politician injured. He died while on his way to the hospital.
The party’s provincial chairman Zahir Soganda took to Twitter to blame the attack on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). He also accused the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) of having received backing from the PKK, a group which he said stands accused of the killing.
The PKK did not claim the Saturday attack in Van, or the other attack in Diyarbakir’s Lice district on Friday midnight.
The state-run TRT World reported that the AKP’s previous deputy chairman in the same district, Aydin Musta, was killed in 2016 in front of his house, again blamed on the PKK.
The attack came less than 24 hours after the AKP’s deputy head, Orhan Mercan, in Diyrbaki’s Lice district was shot in an armed attack in front of his house Friday midnight, and pronounced dead in a local hospital shortly after. The head of the party’s district office told the Turkish media that it was a “terrorist” attack.
Several high level officials visited Mercan’s funeral Saturday, including the Turkish interior minister, Soleyman Soylu.
Soylu said that 19 people were arrested in relation to the Lice armed attack, including two who are suspected to have carried out the attack, Rudaw’s Serkan Ince reported Sunday morning.
The PKK’s affiliated media ANF reported that Mercan was killed by “unknown people.”
The PKK has been engaged in a three-decade war against the Turkish state calling for greater national and cultural rights for millions of Kurds in Turkey.