Istanbul newspaper office attackers identified: Police

Istanbul newspaper office attackers identified: Police

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Istanbul newspaper office attackers identified: Police Four of the assailants who launched petrol bomb and gun attacks on the offices of two Turkish newspapers have been identified, a police source said on Feb. 12.        

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said anti-terror police had identified the attackers as members of the United Freedom Forces, a group reportedly formed in December 2014 by Turkish far-left groups fighting in Syria.        

The source said the group, based in Kobane, Syria, cooperates with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Turkey's Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). Both groups are considered terror organizations by Turkey.        

The Istanbul offices of the Yeni Şafak and Yeni Akit newspapers were simultaneously attacked in the early hours of Feb. 11 morning by masked assailants who threw Molotov cocktails and fired pump-action shotguns.        
There were no casualties in either attack.        

Istanbul police's Anti-Terrorism and Intelligence Branch identified the suspects through security camera footage in the areas surrounding the newspapers' offices and are working to identify others who took part, the source said.        

The attacks were strongly condemned by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, media groups and foreign ambassadors.        

On Feb. 12, the U.S. State Department said violence against journalists is "always unacceptable" and said the U.S. defended the right of these newspapers "to print and report without fear of reprisal, which is the right of every journalist.”        

"We urge Turkish authorities to investigate thoroughly this incident and to prosecute the perpetrators in accordance with Turkish law," spokesman Mark Toner said.

Doğan Publishing Group representative Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ and the deputy chair of the Doğan Media Group’s Publishing Principles Committee, Volkan Vural, also paid a visit to the office building of daily Yeni Akit on Feb. 12 to express their sorrow and show solidarity against terror.