Barış Atay, a deputy from Turkey’s Workers’ Party (İP), was attacked by a group of men in İstanbul just past midnight on Monday following an implicit threat by Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Twitter, according to Turkish media.
The group reportedly called Atay a “traitor” and attacked him when he was coming out of a building. Atay was hospitalized until early Monday morning. After leaving the hospital he said: “I’m good now, it wasn’t serious. We will release a press statement on Tuesday.”
Atay’s exchange with Minister Soylu came after Musa Orhan, a noncommissioned gendarmerie officer who allegedly kidnapped and raped 18-year-old İpek Er, was released from pre-trial detention on Tuesday. Er had died in a hospital a month after attempting to commit suicide following the incident.
In a tweet, Atay accused Soylu of protecting a rapist. Soylu responded by alleging that Atay, who was initially elected to parliament from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), made it onto the party list due to instructions from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front (DHKP/C). In his tweet Soylu also said: “I wouldn’t make a ‘rapist supporter,’ but you would make a great rapist. … Be careful not to get caught.”
Atay indicated that he would file a criminal complaint against his attackers, who reportedly fled the scene of the incident.
Atay (39) is a professional actor. He was elected to parliament from the southern city of Hatay back in 2018.