Turkish police shoot driver near Israeli ambassador's residence
Police in Ankara shoot a tractor driver in the leg after he refuses to stop his vehicle and crashes into cars; the driver says he planned to hit the Israeli embassy in the Turkish capital; Israeli official: 'this has nothing to do with the embassy.'
Police in Ankara shot a driver of a tractor Tuesday that struck a series of cars in the Turkish capital and appeared headed for the Israeli embassy.
The driver told police in his initial statement that he planned to drive to the Israeli embassy in Ankara and stage a protest, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
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.
Anadolu Agency said police guarding the parliament building fired warning shots into the air to stop the tractor on Ataturk 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 crashed into parked cars before coming to a halt, according to an Associated Press journalist who rushed to the scene.
An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 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," the official emphasized.
Israel's Ambassador to Ankara, Eitan Na'eh, was expelled from Turkey in May, following severe crisis with Turkey over the death of 61 Palestinian protesters during the "March of Return" riots.
Prior to his return to Israel, Na'eh was humiliated at the Istanbul International Airport, as he was made to undergo a strict security screening in front of media cameras.