The killing of two police officers and a top lawyer in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır has raised questions as to how well trained police officers are for confronting terrorists.
On Saturday, Cengiz Erdur and Ahmet Çiftaslan, two plainclothes police officers, were gunned down by terrorists after stopping them in a suspicious car in the city of Diyarbakır. As the terrorists ran away, a gun battle erupted near the site of a press conference held by Tahir Elçi, head of the Diyarbakır Bar Association. Elçi was killed by a bullet that struck the back of his head; however, it is still unclear who fired the shot. Footage taken at the scene shows an alleged PKK terrorist running away after killing the two police officers, and police officers firing at them but repeatedly missing.
Several lawmakers said they would discuss the police's handling of the terrorists and apparent failure to stop the fleeing terrorists despite their being in close proximity to Interior Ministry officials.
Security experts said the approach of the two slain officers to the suspicious car was faulty, stressing that they were supposed to draw their guns beforehand and should have stayed at a distance of two meters from the car. Security camera footage shows the officers leaning toward the car instead of keeping their distance. The two officers were also not wearing bulletproof vests, although police sources said the two men were experienced anti-terror police officers, raising questions as to the state of anti-terror police training.
Police sources said there was strong reaction among law enforcement officials concerning the officers for acting carelessly. According to regulations, officers are required to wear bulletproof vests and keep their guns drawn while approaching suspicious vehicles, especially those officers assigned to areas at risk of terror attacks.
Security forces in southeastern and eastern Turkey face a rising threat by the PKK, which has been active in the two regions since the 1980s, in a campaign of terror that has killed tens of thousands of people. After a brief lull in attacks thanks to a government-sponsored reconciliation process that was initiated in 2013 to end the terrorism that led its unilateral declaration of a "truce," the PKK renewed its attacks this summer. Since July, hundreds of police and military officers as well as civilians were killed in terror attacks in Diyarbakır and other cities in the two regions.
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