An escaped convict shot and wounded Premier Turgut Ozal on Saturday, police said, moments after Ozal urged his country to reject violence. Twenty-one people, including the gunman, were injured when police opened fire and the crowd stampeded.

Ozal, 61, was shot in the right hand and slightly wounded as he gave the opening speech at the convention of his governing Motherland Party."We have a more civilized atmosphere now. People of different views can now talk to each other instead of fighting or drawing their guns," Ozal said before the first shot struck the microphone. A second bullet hit Ozal.

Police fired at the assailant and hit him in the arm.

Scores of people ran screaming as shots rang out. Sixteen suffered bullet wounds, and four were bruised in the stampede.

Prosecutor Cemal Ozer, who interviewed the gunman in a hospital, identified him as Kartal Demirag, 32, and said he escaped from the Mugla prison in western Turkey six months ago.

Ankara governor Saffet Arikan Beduk said Demirag had just begun serving a 10-year sentence for attempted murder when he fled the low-security prison.

Earlier, The Associated Press erroneously quoted Ozer as saying De-mirag was serving time for murder.

Authorities had not established a motive for the attack, Ozer said.

Turkish news agencies reported responsibility claims from the outlawed Kurdish Labor Party and another group called The Revolutionary Officers Organization.

None of the claims could be confirmed independently.

The Kurdish Labor Party is fighting for an independent Marxist state in parts of eastern and southeastern Turkey. About one-fifth of Turkey's 52 million people are ethnic Kurds.

The assassination attempt occurred three days after Ozal returned from a historic visit to Greece, Turkey's longtime enemy.

Police said Demirag, a schoolteacher, stayed in a hotel near the convention hall under the name of Hayati Ipek on Friday night. Beduk said police were investigating Demir-ag's possible political affiliations.