Assailants fired on a campaign vehicle belonging to Turkey's pro-Kurdish party and killed its driver, officials said Thursday, in the latest violence against politicians or political parties ahead of Sunday's general election.
The governor's office for Bingol province said the 35-year-old driver was found shot dead near the hired minibus of the People's Democratic Party, or HDP, late Wednesday. It said an investigation had been launched.
The attack comes weeks after bomb explosions at two local HDP offices injured six people in southern Adana city and neighboring Mersin and days after officials said two supporters of a small Islamist party were killed in a fight with Kurdish party supporters in southeastern Turkey.
The motive for the latest attack was not known but the party is frequently accused by the ruling AKP party and by nationalists of links to Kurdish rebels fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey.
The HDP, which has expanded its appeal beyond Turkey's Kurdish regions and is attracting liberal and left-wing voters from the rest of Turkey, is playing a key role in the election. If the party reaches the threshold of 10 percent of total votes required to take seats in parliament, it could make it impossible for the ruling AKP to reach a supermajority in parliament. That would scuttle the AKP's ambitions to introduce a new constitution and change Turkey's parliamentary system into a presidential system that could give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan executive powers.
Meanwhile, the state-run Anadolu Agency said an independent candidate reported missing four days ago has been found alive on a highway in southern Gaziantep province. He had been kidnapped. His captors' motive was not disclosed.
In other election-related violence last month, an AKP candidate was stabbed while campaigning in Adana and an opposition party candidate was hospitalized after being shot in the knee in the same city.