Turkish police shoot driver who reportedly planned Israel protest

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Turkish police shot a tractor driver in the leg after he refused to stop his vehicle and crashed into cars in central Ankara on Oct. 16, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

The driver later reportedly told police he planned a protest outside the Israeli embassy.

The man, identified as a 45-year-old farmer, was eventually stopped in an area close to the Israeli ambassador’s residence. It was unclear whether the driver mistook the residence for the embassy.

The Ankara Governor’s Office said the man had been under treatment for psychological problems since 2007, adding that the incident was “not terror-related.”

“According to initial reports, six cars have been damaged in the incident. The suspect has been determined to be a farmer in the Beypazarı district and to have been taking psychological treatment since 2007. No evidence constituting a crime has been found on neither the driver or in the tractor during the search,” the statement said.

“The relevant incident does not consist of a terror dimension, and the investigation launched into the event continues,” it added.

Anadolu Agency reported police guarding the parliament building fired warning shots into the air to stop the tractor on the Atatürk Boulevard that is lined with government buildings and embassies. The report said the tractor continued on its way, hitting and crushing cars on the route.

The tractor was eventually stopped on a street some two kilometers away from the Israeli residence. The tractor reportedly crashed into parked cars before coming to a halt.

Anadolu Agency said the man told the police before being taking to hospital that he planned to stage a protest outside the Israeli embassy.
The Israeli ambassador returned to Israel in May following a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

Meanwhile, an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that he believed the incident was not linked to the Israeli mission.

“To the best of our knowledge this has nothing to do with the embassy. He was on his way to demonstrate outside a [Turkish] government ministry. The incident happened near the ambassador’s residence, and not the embassy,” he reportedly said.

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