Turkey: Stones flung at Imamoglu during opposition rally in Erzurum
A provocation was staged on Sunday in Turkey's eastern city of Erzurum during the election campaign rally of the opposition as a group of people started throwing stones at Ekrem Imamoglu, Istanbul Mayor running for vice president.
Imamoglu repeatedly warned authorities during his address that they would file charges against the city's mayor, governor and police chief for not taking necessary security measures. Then stones were seen being flung at him in the live broadcast of Halk TV. Imamoglu asked his supporters not to respond, said that this was a provocation, and was eventually dragged away from the platform by his bodyguards as stones kept on coming.
His address was cut short and the bus carrying him, other opposition figures and organizers left the demonstration area while the police continued to watch.
An itibari ile Erzurum’da büyük bir provokasyon hazırlıkları olduğunu görüyoruz. Buradan @TC_icisleri ni uyarıyorum.— Özgen NAMA (@OzgenNAMA) May 7, 2023
Bir kişinin burnu bile kanasa yeterli önlem almayan Erzurum mülki idare amirleri ve kolluk kuvvetleri sorumludur. pic.twitter.com/N37rkUci1k
A senior official of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Ozgen Nama, posted a video minutes before the incident, saying:
"We see that there are preparations for a major provocation in Erzurum. I'm warning the interior ministry: Erzurum's administrators and police will bear the responsibility if somebody gets injured."
The video show a group behind the police line, waving national flags.
Journalist Ismail Saymaz said:
"Erzurum Governor and Mayor were agitating the city in the last couple of days to prevent Kilicdaroglu and Imamoglu from holding a meeting. An organized group has been brought into the demonstration area. Stones were flung at the mayor of Turkey's largest city and CHP officials. The police watched."
The demonstration area was blocked earlier in the day by buses of the city municipality, held by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and the buses were removed only after strong protests by Imamoglu.
The crowd of opposition supporters keep on waiting and holding ground in the demonstration area and the situation is tense, according to reports.
Imamoglu released a message after leaving the area that he will stay in Erzurum till he was sure everyone were fine.
Neither the state and pro-government media nor mainstream media like Haberturk reported on the incident in the minutes that followed.