Man arrested over failed attack near Turkey president’s office

Turkish police said Thursday that a suspected “terrorist” armed with grenades and old guns was arrested after a failed attack near the office in Istanbul of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (above). -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Turkish police said Thursday that a suspected “terrorist” armed with grenades and old guns was arrested after a failed attack near the office in Istanbul of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (above). -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkish police said Thursday that a suspected “terrorist” armed with grenades and old guns was arrested after a failed attack near the office in Istanbul of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Police chief Selami Altinok said the “attack” was launched by a man suspected of being “a member of a terrorist organisation” and targeted police outside the Ottoman palace where the presidential offices are located.

“Two hand grenades that he hurled against the police on duty did not explode. He was quickly overpowered,” Mr Altinok told reporters at the scene, adding that no one was injured.

He ruled out that the attack was aimed at Mr Erdogan.

According to local media, the Turkish leader was not in his office in an annex of the historic Dolmabahce Palace, where the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, died in 1938.

Police did not reveal the identity of the suspected assailant and his motives for the attack were not immediately known.

Besides the grenades, the suspect was armed with a “very old” machine gun and a pistol, police said.

Mr Erdogan, who served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014, was elected president in August, several months after a vast corruption scandal engulfed his entourage and Islamic-rooted party.

His opponents accuse him of imposing authoritarian rule on Turkey.