Turkey's ruling party and police hit in fresh attacks

ISTANBUL • An assailant opened fire on a police car in Istanbul yesterday, just hours after two other attacks against the police and Turkey's ruling party offices, media reports said.

The assaults, which the authorities suggest were the work of ultra-leftists, come as the nation is reeling from an unprecedented series of attacks and bombings.

The shooter opened fire on officers in a car in the Esenyurt district, the Dogan News Agency said. He left a hand grenade before running away when officers shot back.

The attack came in the same area as where the gunman blamed for the New Year shooting in an elite nightclub in Istanbul was arrested.

Yesterday's gunfire came less than 12 hours after two rocket attacks in the city on a police headquarters and the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) Istanbul offices late last Friday. No one was killed or injured in any of the three attacks, local media said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the authorities suggested the outlawed ultra-leftist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) could be to blame.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's campaign to secure sweeping executive authority won the approval of Parliament early yesterday. Turks will have the final say in a referendum that could be held in early April.

The Parliament voted 339-142 to make the President the head of the executive and abolish the job of prime minister, triggering a referendum on the proposal and putting Mr Erdogan one step away from building a power centre unrivalled since the days of parliamentary founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

As lawmakers from the ruling AKP declared victory, legislators from opposition parties warned that the attempt to transform Turkey's government has polarised the nation.

Mr Erdogan's supporters said it is needed to overcome deepening security and economic challenges, while critics warned the overhaul would concentrate a dangerous amount of power in a single authority, who has already embarked on a crackdown on political opponents, journalists, academics and activists.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 22, 2017, with the headline 'Turkey's ruling party and police hit in fresh attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe