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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Attempted Assassination Spotlights Turkish Chaos

ISTANBUL -- The thwarted assassination attempt by a lone gunman against President Suleyman Demirel has focused attention again on instability in Turkey.


The 71-year-old Demirel, seven times prime minister, emerged unscathed after his bodyguards disarmed a white-bearded attacker who pointed a pistol at him Saturday.


The attack was the latest in a long line of dramas this year in Turkey, where a weak conservative government is close to collapse.


Infighting between the two right-wing parties in the coalition could result in the government's fall and Demirel would then have a say in choosing the next prime minister.


Saturday's attack was taken by some commentators as a warning to Turkey's squabbling politicians to sort out their differences or face worse tensions in society.


Police said the assailant, quoted by the government as saying he was protesting against a military agreement between Turkey and Israel, is in custody in western Kocaeli province and awaiting a possible transfer to Istanbul for trial.


Newspapers said the attacker, Ibrahim Gurmukcuoglu, 48, had come within a few meters of Demirel, who was opening a shopping center in Izmit town in Kocaeli province.


Kocaeli governor Mehduh Oguz said the assailant did not appear to have links with any armed group.


Several Islamist groups have killed leading Turkish secularists in recent years.