Four killed at Turkish university after gunman furious about Muslim cleric’s ‘coup’ opens fire

Gunman ‘saw the victims as supporters of a Muslim cleric’ accused by President Tayyip Erdogan of being behind a failed coup in 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 April, 2018, 12:46am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 April, 2018, 3:55am

A gunman opened fire at a Turkish university on Thursday, killing four academics whom he saw as supporters of a Muslim cleric accused by the government of being behind a failed coup in 2016, the university rector said.

Police arrested the gunman at Osmangazi University in the town of Eskisehir near the capital Ankara, the state-run news agency Anadolu said.

An Anadolu reporter told broadcaster CNN Turk that the gunman had surrendered and did not try to escape.

Osmangazi University rector Hasan Gonen said the gunman had worked as a researcher at the institution and had fatally shot the assistant dean, faculty secretary, a lecturer and an education faculty staff member.

Gonen said he believed the assailant was looking for the dean, who was not in the building at the time, when he entered the education faculty and opened fire.

“This person had claimed that some members of the university were members of [international Islamic movement] FETO, and he had made similar claims in court,” Gonen said, using an acronym denoting the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey’s government accuses Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, of having orchestrated the abortive July 2016 attempt by parts of the armed forces to topple President Tayyip Erdogan. More than 250 people were killed in the coup bid. Gulen denies involvement.

Cleric Turkey blames for failed coup suggests president may have staged it himself

Gonen said the gunman’s claim was being investigated by authorities before Thursday’s shooting.

Ayse Aypay, a professor at the university, told Turkish media that some staff members had “repeatedly filed complaints” about the person accused of being the gunman.

“Who will pay the price for protecting him now?” Aypay said. She said she would file a criminal complaint to higher educational authorities over their alleged failure to deal with complaints about the suspect.