Turkey cracks down on outlawed group after US embassy attack

Turkey cracks down on outlawed group after US embassy attack

Turkey cracks down on outlawed group after US embassy attack

DHA photo

A total of 167 people allegedly connected with the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) were detained today in a series of operations in 28 different cities including Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara.

The outlawed group had claimed responsibility for the Feb. 1 suicide attack targeting the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, which killed one person.

Most of the detainees are members of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK). A police search is underway at the confederation’s headquarters in Ankara.

Police raided 10 locations in İzmir and detained 10 people, while 16 were detained in Bursa from their homes for being alleged sympathizers and members of the outlawed group.

Fifty people in Istanbul were detained, and the number is expected to increase. An arrest warrant was issued for KESK official Akman Şimşek, who was detained later. Şimşek’s room at the union’s headquarters is being searched, KESK’s lawyers told Anatolia news agency.

Attorneys said the investigation was being conducted into claims of “being a member of the terrorist organization DHKP/C” and arrest warrants were issued for several members in Ankara, Istanbul, Malatya and Balıkesir, as well as an academic at the Middle East Technical University (METU).

In the southern province of Antalya seven people were detained including two public servants. Meanwhile six people in Bursa and a medical doctor in Kocaeli were among the detained.

An ongoing probe into the organization has seen the arrest of nine lawyers and the detention of scores of people recently.

A Turkish guard at the U.S. embassy in Ankara was killed in the Feb. 1 attack and three other people including a journalist were wounded.

The suicide bomber was identified as Ecevit Şanlı, a member of the DHKP/C who had attacked an Istanbul military guesthouse in 1997.

The suspect used six kilos of TNT and an electronic detonator, according to authorities. He also set off a grenade during the attack, authorities said.

Şanlı spent time in prison between 1997 and 2000 for attacking the Istanbul military guesthouse, Harbiye Orduevi, with a flame thrower.

He participated in hunger strikes while being held in Ümraniye Prison in 2000, a time when massive hunger strikes were initiated in Turkish prisons. Şanlı, who suffered from Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome, was released on probation in 2002 and went to Germany. In April 2011 the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office launched a covert investigation against him on suspicion of being a “member of a foreign terrorist organization,” but he was never arrested.