ISTANBUL BLOG: Provincial party bigwig allegedly flees to France after hiring assassin who only shoots for the legs

ISTANBUL BLOG: Provincial party bigwig allegedly flees to France after hiring assassin who only shoots for the legs
Aysen Kurt (left) with Iyi Party chief Meral Aksener. / @kurtaysenkurt
By Akin Nazli in Belgrade February 19, 2024

Aysen Kurt, a member of the general executive board of Turkey’s Iyi Party, hired an assassin to kill Huseyin Ergen, district head of the party in Manavgat town, local daily Sozcu reported on February 19.

The alleged course of events are as follows:

On January 31, by now former party district head Ergen stops his car in front of his home in the town of Side, part of Turkey’s southern Antalya province, also the location of Manavgat. The assassin, Selahattin Oguz, points his gun through the window of Ergen’s car and pulls the trigger. But the gun jams, prompting Oguz to run off. The assassin, however, only runs 50 metres, before deciding to have another go. He returns and fires seven shots at Ergen, who by that point is running towards his home.

The district head receives two bullets to his legs and Oguz once more runs off.

Iyi board member Kurt fails to pay the assassin’s fee. Oguz turns witness and tells the story of the shooting in a criminal complaint.

Kurt’s problem with Ergen was that, as district head, he was against her candidacy for the mayorship of Manavgat.

The previous December, Yahya Kurt, the husband of Aysen Kurt, called Ahmet Celik, an instigator when it comes to hiring hitmen. Yahya Kurt tells Celik he wants the district head dead.

Celik tells the husband that there could be some political problems stemming from such a hit since the target is the district head of a political party.

The husband responds that he can remove the target from his post and Celik okays the hit on that condition. They agree a fee of Turkish lira (TRY) 20mn (more than $600,000).

On December 31, Ergen insults Aysen Kurt in a tweet, accusing her of finding an old, rich husband for money.

On January 1, Iyi Party removes Ergen from his post over his sexist discourse on social media.

Yahya Kurt then meets with Celik and provides him with required information on the target in addition to TRY 50,000 in cash for expenses.

Celik gives TRY 20,000 to hitman Oguz as an advance payment, but he gives orders for the target to only be shot in the legs and wounder rather than killed. He later tells police that he changed the instruction because the target has kids.

On January 31, Celik calls the husband and tells him that they have not killed the target but they have done an effective job by shooting him in the legs. He asks for half of the full payment, namely TRY 10mn.

The husband gives him TRY 450,000 in cash as an initial payment and offers TRY 3mn in total. Celik asks for the entire TRY 5mn, but they fail to agree.

Celik decides to go to a police station to confess to events.

Presently, Celik, Oguz and Yahya Kurt are in jail pending trial, while Aysen Kurt is apparently a fugitive in France.

In October, bne IntelliNews reported the Turkish judiciary’s “bribe tariff”. Now we have an “assassination tariff”.

Turkey’s deepening “crisis in all spheres” is not going away anytime soon.

The Iyi Party is, meanwhile, living its own drama. Right now, it is actually questionable whether there is a party called Iyi.

It broke out of the opposition alliance following the disastrous national election polls of May 2023. It cannot join the ruling alliance since its voters (if there are any left) are allergic to Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Meral Aksener, head of the party, seems to devote most of her speeches to targeting opposition candidates running in the local polls to be held on March 31.

The Iyi Party directors and Aksener’s son have, meanwhile, been accusing each other of stealing party money and selling candidacies for cash.

Aksener served as interior minister during Turkey’s infamous 90s, when the country had collapsed. She remains an actor in the current “extended decade”, which began in 2011 and has surpassed the black reputation of the 90s.

From whichever vantage point the observer chooses, Turkey is seen in a grave condition. At what point will they roll it into the morgue?