Judicial proceedings were interrupted at an İstanbul courthouse on Thursday when a man carrying a firearm managed to evade detection by X-ray scanners and fired several shots at a suspect on trial, wounding the defendant and causing panic among spectators and staff.
Approaching suspect Mehmet Emin Soylu during a hearing at the Kadıköy Courthouse, a spectator by the name of Hasan Ç. took out a gun and fired twice at the suspect's head, with one of the bullets hitting Soylu in the eye. Soylu was taken to Haydarpaşa Teaching and Research Hospital and reportedly lost the sight of his left eye due to the attack.
Hasan Ç. seems to have committed the attack to avenge the death of Mehmet Şerif Şimşek, whom he referred to as his “brother.” Şimşek was killed in an assault on his car dealership on March 15, 2007. Hasan Ç., who was Şimşek's partner, shot Soylu, apparently thinking he was responsible for Şimşek's death.
The attacker was detained by bailiffs in the courthouse and was taken to the Kadıköy Police Station. “They killed my brother and I killed them,” Hasan Ç. shouted as he was taken from the courthouse by police.
The attack caused panic in the building. Terrified by the noise and chaos, people inside the building began to run towards the exit.
Deputy Chairman of the Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV) Nuh Hüseyin Köse, who was at the Kadıköy Courthouse when the incident took place, highlighted that the safety of judges and prosecutors is not ensured at courthouses. Criticizing the lack of high-tech detection devices, Köse continued: “Such incidents take place all the time. The administrations are silent on these issues, and we will see the same problems in the newly constructed courthouses. Every person who was in that courtroom is traumatized. No hearings can be conducted [there].”
In the meantime, the YARSAV board issued a statement on the incident and called on the Justice Ministry to increase safety precautions at courthouses.