Disabled Turkish MP risks life defending parliament

Wheelchair-bound Bennur Karaburun told colleagues: 'Let's wear our shrouds'

Disabled Turkish MP risks life defending parliament

World Bulletin / News Desk

A disabled member of the Turkish parliament has shared what happened in the Grand National Assembly the night of the July 15 coup attempt. 

During the failed coup, the Grand National Assembly building was struck by bombs and gunfire.

Ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Bursa Deputy Bennur Karaburun said that she arrived at the assembly on the night of July 15 in her wheelchair to guard the people's rostrum. 

Karaburun said that she was at home in Ankara at around 9.00 p.m. local time (0600 GMT) when she started to hear loud gunshots. She said that she decided to go to the assembly with her colleagues. 

Karaburun says she told her colleagues: “Let's wear our shrouds,” implying that they were risking their lives.

"When my security officer was holding me to help me out of my car [after arriving at the assembly] a bomb exploded. It was so heavy that everyone stampeded. Some people fell down on the ground," she said. 

Karaburun says they opened the general assembly with Speaker of the Parliament Ismail Kahraman and some ministers. 

"We decided to go to the shelter after another bomb was dropped," she added.

"The gate was 20 meters away from us. A big explosion occurred. The gate, which is the one used by the parliamentary speaker, blew up. It was incredible. We were horrified. After the gate blew up, my security officer, Samet, jumped at me to protect me. We went to downstairs [to the shelter] in a hurry," she said.

Karaburun said parliament's security guards clashed with rebels as a helicopter tried to drop soldiers into the building's yard. 

She added that coup soldiers also tried to enter parliament in two buses. 

"If they had entered, they would have slaughtered or arrested us. Our police struggled very well. They were saying: 'We will not hand this parliament over to them. The coup plotters cannot enter here'," Karaburun said. 

The deadly coup attempt began late July 15 when rogue elements of the Turkish military tried to overthrow the country's democratically-elected government, killing at least 246 people and injuring more than 2,100 others. 

U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen is accused of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming a so-called 'parallel state'.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Temmuz 2016, 17:54