TRNC Deputy Prime Minister Kudret Özersay emerges unscathed after Bostancı attack

A public meeting with People’s Party (Halkın Partisi,HP) leader Dr. Kudret Özersay at Yalova Spor Kulübü, Lower Bostancı, on Friday evening had to be called off after a local citizen smashed the venue’s windows and chairs during an angry confrontation. The suspect, named locally as Taşkın Güneş, has been arrested and taken into custody.

The incident took place shortly after Dr Özersay and a small HP delegation held a public meeting in Upper Bostancı. The TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister was accompanied by three HP MPs Hasan Büyükoğlu, Erek Çağatay and Gülşah Sanver Manavoğlu, and HP Güzelyurt Regional Head Reşat Kansoy.

Yalova Sports Club’s windows are smashed during attack on TRNC Deputy PM Kudret Özersay, 15 Feb. 2019

According to witnesses, Taşkın Güneş attended this first meeting at Tahtalı Coffeeshop along with some 100 local citizens. During the session, he complained that his night club licence had been revoked and asked why. Dr. Özersay explained to Mr Güneş that citizens who do not have a clean criminal record will have their licences withdrawn and read out the relevant section of the law governing the issue. Mr Güneş did not give any reaction and sat down after the Minister’s response.

After the 2-hour ‘question and answer’ session concluded, the HP delegation departed around 8.30pm for a second public gathering in nearby Lower Bostancı.

The suspect arrived before them at Yalova Spor Kulübü, where members of the public were already taking their seats. In an effort to disrupt the planned assembly, the suspect is reported to have shouted out, “This government has closed my night club. They’ve deprived me of my bread money. Don’t listen to them,”before proceeding to overturn tables at the venue and using chairs to smash windows.

None of the HP delegation were injured during the attack. However, a member of the public received facial wounds from the shattered glass.

Following the attack, Minister Özersay posted the following statement on social media:

Following news reports in the media, I will just add the following: We are well, everything is fine, our health is intact. It doesn’t matter if it’s night clubs or another issue, for us the rule of law is vital. Our Home Affairs Minister was previously threatened too, and then like now when a person loses control and turns to violence or threats, we won’t be intimidated. No one is above the law.”

In the past year, evidence linking night clubs to human trafficking and the sexual abuse of female workers has led to greater calls for these establishments to be shut. Last February, the Mayor of Lefkoşa Mehmet Harmancı made good on his election pledge to close down night clubs that are suspected of operating as brothels by revoking the licence of four venues.