x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Man points gun at head of leader of Bulgaria's Muslim Turkish party

Security prevents the would-be attack on Ahmed Dogan, the leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, a party represents ethnic Turks and other Muslims who make up about 12 per cent of Bulgaria's 7.3 million-strong population.

An image from a broadcast by the Bulgarian channel BTV shows a man pointing a gun at Ahmet Dogan, the leader of the MRF party of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria on Saturday. EPA / BTV / HANDOUT
An image from a broadcast by the Bulgarian channel BTV shows a man pointing a gun at Ahmet Dogan, the leader of the MRF party of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria on Saturday. EPA / BTV / HANDOUT

SOFIA // A man jumped on stage and pointed a gun at the leader of Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish party before security guards wrestled him to the ground during a televised conference today.

Ahmed Dogan, the long-time leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) escaped unscathed, and it was not immediately clear why the attacker had targeted him at the party congress in Sofia.

Television footage showed the man jumping out of the audience and interrupting a speech by Mr Dogan, 58, who has led the party for almost a quarter of a century. Security guards were seen beating and kicking the attacker.

"Ahmed Dogan is in good health. Everything is under control," the MRF official Ceyhan Ibryamov told journalists.

Police said they had arrested a 25-year-old man from the Black Sea town of Burgas who was also carrying two knives.

The liberal MRF party represents ethnic Turks and other Muslims who make up about 12 per cent of Bulgaria's 7.3 million-strong population.

Mr Dogan is seen as one of Balkan country's most influential political figures. The MRF was a junior partner in the previous Socialist-led cabinet.

In 1996, former prime minister Andrei Lukanov was found shot dead near his home in Sofia, though attacks on politicians are rare.