AVRUPA TIMES (ARTVIN)-The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party has escaped injury after a security team travelling ahead of his motorcade was fired upon in the country’s northeast.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala confirmed that a security vehicle escorting Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu was shot at in Artvin on Thursday afternoon.
A gendarmerie private was martyred after he was taken to the state hospital, the Governorate of Artvin said in a written statement.
The fallen private was shot in the head during the clash.
Two non-commissioned officers were also wounded as the convoy travelling from the Savsat district of the Black Sea province to Ardanuc came under fire.
Minister Ala has also commented on the terror attack, said the separatist terrorist organization PKK were taking action with the intention of being active in Black Sea Region.
"Recently, a terrorist was captured with a gun in Ordu [a city in Turkey's Black Sea Region]," Ala said.
Speaking on television after the incident, Kilicdaroglu said: “No-one needs to be worried about me. I am in good condition. We got out together with my friends from the area of conflict.”
Kilicdaroglu and his delegation were transferred to a secure area by police under strict security measures.
Artvin Governorate issued a statement saying that of the three injured gendarmes, two are in critical condition at Artvin State Hospital.
Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Minister Ala said Turkish security forces had launched an operation against the PKK.
"My friends told me certainly that [it is] the PKK, and the operation against them has started,” Ala said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag each called Kilicdaroglu separately.
Also speaking at an event in the Turkish capital, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he "strongly" condemned and "cursed" the attack, adding: "The aim of both coup plotters and terrorists that target Turkey is to damage its unity and solidarity."
"Whatever the reason, we strongly condemn and curse this attack directed at Kilicdaroglu's convoy," he added.
Cavusoglu said political parties would not change their positions against terrorism.
Turkey’s EU minister, Omer Celik, condemned the attack via his official Twitter account:
"We condemn the attack directed at Kilicdaroglu's convoy. There is no doubt that this attack was carried out on each of us. Get well soon."