ANKARA - Twin explosions on Monday hit the regional headquarters of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party in two cities, adding to escalating tensions in the run up to June 7 legislative elections.
Six people were injured in the blast at the office of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the southern city of Adana caused by a suspect parcel, three of them seriously, a party official told AFP.
A bouquet of flowers sent to the party’s office in the nearby city of Mersin also exploded, the official said. Video footage showed several people with bloodied faces. The HDP’s co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas was due to address a rally in Mersin later in the day but the party said there was no suggestion of him cancelling the event.
The government immediately condemned the attack, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu pledging to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“I strongly condemn this attack,” Davutoglu told a rally in the city of Karaman in central Turkey .
Davutoglu said he gave a “clear instruction” for a full-scale investigation. But he warned against any smear campaign to discredit his ruling party after some HDP figures blamed the government for the attacks. “We have stood against violence since the very beginning. God willing, we will march into June 7 in peace,” he said. Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Celik announced on Twitter that a special unit involving the police, gendarmerie and the intelligence agency was established to find out culprits of the attacks which he said took an aim at “the HDP, all political parties and Turkey’s election process.”
 ‘Some people got scared’
In April, unidentified assailants opened fire on the HDP headquarters in the capital Ankara, with no casualties. The government condemned that attack as a blow to Turkey’s democracy and stability. Tensions are mounting ahead of Turkey’s key elections next month in which the HDP is seeking to clear the 10 percent quota to take seats in the parliament.
The HDP’s success could dent the ruling AKP party’s plans to reach a thumping majority in the 550-seat parliament in order to change the constitution and create a presidential system.
Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan has said this month it would be “super” if the pro-Kurdish HDP failed to clear the 10 percent threshold.
Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, a former AKP politician and currently the HDP’s candidate for Mersin, put the blame on the government for the latest blasts .
“The prospect of the HDP clearing the threshold on the horizon scares some (people). The government which rules the state must be behind all this,” he said in comments published in Turkish media.
“We will not succumb to provocation,” he added.
Seventy-three attacks have targeted the HDP offices throughout Turkey since April, according to a party report sent to AFP.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who steered Turkey as prime minister for 11 years, has appealed to his supporters to help elect 400 AKP lawmakers in June’s vote, giving him the backing to rewrite the constitution - and assume full executive powers himself.
The HDP lodged an unsuccessful complaint to Turkey’s higher electoral body accusing Erdogan of violating the constitutional neutrality with public speeches in favour of the AKP party he co-founded.