Sought DHKP-C militant caught in Turkey’s northwest
TEKİRDAĞAn outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) militant who attacked the Istanbul police headquarters and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters late on Jan. 20 was apprehended by police in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ on Jan. 22.
DHKP-C militant Şerif Turunç, 43, who was sought by the Interior Ministry with an arrest warrant and a 300,000-Turkish Liras reward, carried out the attacks with a light anti-tank weapon.
According to newly obtained information, Turunç entered Turkey illegally with another DHKP-C militant, Bilgehan Karpat, and he attempted to return to Greece by changing the way he looks in order not to be recognized.
A glock weapon was found on him when he was apprehended.
Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin said on Twitter late on Jan. 20 that no one was injured in the attack on the police headquarters, and an investigation had been launched.
No injuries were reported after the attack on the AKP headquarters, which came an hour-and-a-half after the initial attack, according to a Twitter post by the AKP’s provincial head, Selim Temurci, on Jan. 20.
He told reporters later on Jan. 20 that the rocket pierced the wall of the building but did not explode, adding that two assailants were involved in the attack.
The rocket reportedly did not explode due to malfunction in the device.
Police determined that the fingerprints on the weapons were the same, and police are evaluating whether Karpat is the second militant involved in the attacks.
The police started a massive manhunt after the attacks and carried out raids. Security forces raided 15 addresses across Turkey’s largest city and five people were taken into custody over suspected links to the attacker.
According to the allegations, Turunç was seen in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district on Jan. 21. He arrived in the Bağlarçeşme neighborhood via a taxi and got out of the vehicle after seeing the police. He then fired on the police vehicle from behind. Clashes erupted after the police fired back.
Turunç entered side-streets during the clashes and managed to escape after leaving a hand grenade and his backpack at the scene. Plenty of police officers and bomb disposal teams were dispatched to the scene. A weapon, hand gloves, rope, medicine and several clothes were found in the backpack.
The police examined the taxi and took fingerprints from it after the incident. The taxi driver, who was not identified, said Turunç threatened him by saying that he was carrying a bomb. The police have been investigating the security cameras around the scene.
Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also phoned Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım about the attacks, which were also condemned in the Turkish Parliament.
Another incident took place on Jan. 21 after the two attacks were carried out, in which police opened fire into the air after a truck broke security barrier in front of police headquarters in Istanbul.
The Istanbul Governor’s Office stated the brake of the truck failed as it broke security barrier in front of the headquarters, noting that it was not a terror-related incident.
Police later conducted searches inside the truck but did not find any threat.