Gunmen open fire at Sisli municipal building in Istanbul downtown

Posted: January 31, 2014 in Current Affairs, World Affairs
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Armed gunmen opened fire late Jan. 27 on the municipal building of Sisli, one of the most vibrant and central districts on Istanbul’s European side.

The attack caused no casualties, police said, although the assault seemed to target Mustafa Sarigül, the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) candidate for Istanbul mayor and the current mayor of Sisli, ahead of the March 30 local elections.

The attack also came in the wake of an attack against a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) election office in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district that killed party adviser Cengiz Akyildiz on Jan. 26.

“Such an armed [attack] against our Sisli Municipality a day after an incident that took place at a MHP election office and cost the life of one of our citizens is worrying. This is an attack against democracy ahead of the elections,” Sarigül was quoted as saying by daily Hürriyet following the attack.

The attack took place around 11:30 p.m. and was carried out by two gunmen, according to initial findings, Sarigül said. Some 15 long barrel gun shells were found in the proximity of the municipal building, police said. Gunshots also reportedly destroyed some of the windows of the edifice.

“It is necessary to shed light on this incident. My only plea from our citizens is to keep their tranquility. In our campaign, we will display the philosophy of not hurting, even we have been hurt. We will absolutely not have anything to do with hate and grudges,” Sarigül said.

The government vowed on Jan. 27 to take additional security measures for the local elections as an apparent response to the killing of Akyildiz.

Security for the elections was also brought up by Ankara Metropolitan Mayor Melih Gökçek, who claimed there could be political assassinations on the eve of the elections.

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