Researcher kills four staff at Turkish university

Istanbul (AFP) –


A researcher killed four fellow staff members in a shooting Thursday at a university in the western Turkish city of Eskisehir, in one of the deadliest incidents of its kind seen in Turkey.

Deadly shootouts -- often caused by arguments that degenerate into violence -- are relatively common in Turkey. But a shooting on a campus is highly unusual.

Those killed were the deputy dean of the education faculty, faculty secretary and two lecturers at Osmangazi University, the university said in a statement.

The attacker, himself a researcher at the education faculty, was later detained after initially trying to flee the scene, the Dogan news agency said. Police were questioning him.

The university's rector Hasan Gonen confirmed to CNN-Turk television that four people had been killed.

He said the attacker -- named by state media as Volkan B -- initially went to the dean's office and shot at the others after finding it empty.

Gonen described the individual as a "problematic" person who had been verbally insulting the academic personnel.

"We are launching an investigation into the researcher. He was a problematic person... I believe he targeted the personnel as a result of psychological problems," he said.

He added the university did not know how the man had entered the university grounds with a gun but did not think the incident had any links to terror. Campuses in Turkey are ususally well guarded.

- Shock and panic -

Eskisehir, a city of nearly one million, is on the railway line between Ankara and Istanbul and has rarely been the scene of any kind of violent attack.

"We are extremely sad. The chief prosecutor's office is tackling the incident," said Eskisehir governor Ozdemir Cakacak.

Some reports said the attacker had also upset staff members by alleging that they were members of the group of Fethullah Gulen blamed for the 2016 failed coup.

Dogan said that the attack sparked panic at the university, with both students and teachers in a state of shock.

Television pictures showed shocked staff and students gathering outside the university's main entrance. Many ambulances were sent to the area.

Some pictures showed tearful staff speaking on mobile phones seeking to assure relatives that they were not harmed.

Turkey has in recent years been hit by a string of deadly attacks blamed on Kurdish militants and jihadists. However there was no indication of any link between Thursday's shooting and extremist activity.