Turkey police raid suspected leftist militants after attacks

Turkey police raid suspected leftist militants after attacks

Turkish police on Thursday launched early morning raids against suspected members of an ultra-leftist group in Istanbul after two deadly shoot outs in the city blamed on the militants. At least 10 people were arrested in the raids in the Okmeydani district of Istanbul after dozens of police deployed in armoured vehicles, Turkish media said.

The raids came two days after a prosecutor was killed in Istanbul in a hostage-taking blamed on the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). On Wednesday, two militants then tried to storm the police headquarters in Istanbul.

Police opened fire in response, killing a female assailant armed with grenades and guns and arresting a male accomplice. Turkish media named the dead woman as Elif Sultan Kalsen, 28, saying she was a known member of the DHKP-C.

The DHKP-C has claimed a string of attacks in Turkey in recent months, including an attempted grenade attack in January on police guarding the Dolmabahce palace in Istanbul that caused no serious casualties.

It also claimed a suicide attack in Istanbul later that month but, amid a bizarre sequence of events then withdrew the claim, saying it had made a mistake. Even more strangely, it had said at the time that the suicide bomber was Elif Sultan Kalsen but her parents then said the body was not hers. She has been missing ever since.

The authorities then indicated the bomber was a Russian woman from the Caucasus who had married an Islamist jihadist.

The DHKP-C says it wants revenge for the killing of Berkin Elvan, who died in March last year after spending 269 days in a coma due to injuries inflicted by police in the mass protests of early summer 2013.

The Istanbul prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz who was killed after being taken hostage by DHKP-C militants was himself investigating the Elvan case. Elvan, who lived in Okmeydani which is known as a hub for left-wing and Kurdish sympathisers, has become an icon for the far-left since his death.

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