Turkish police foil terror plots by DHKP-C, Daesh ahead of Labor Day
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMay 01, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
May 01, 2017 12:00 am
Security forces clamped down on two terrorist groups that were planning attacks today, Labor Day, in operations in İzmir and Istanbul. Sunday, 16 suspects linked to the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) were detained in Istanbul, while six suspects tied to Daesh were detained in the western city of İzmir.
A nationwide event that always boasts a large turnout, Labor Day will be marked by people from all walks of life. Celebrations have been overshadowed by violence in past years. Supporters of terrorist groups exploiting mass gatherings by far-left groups were blamed for past violence.
Early Sunday, police squads stormed multiple DHKP-C locations in Istanbul. Media outlets reported that sympathizers of the group would carry out "unauthorized" rallies on Labor Day to provoke crowds.The terrorist group often recruits teenagers wielding Molotov cocktails, sticks and stones to stir up riots during the day, and those groups clash with police. Supporting a far-left ideology, the DHKP-C targeted both Turks and Americans in the past, and its most notorious recent attack was a suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara in 2013. A Turkish security guard was killed in that brazen attack. The DHKP-C was also active during the Gezi Park protests that year, and its supporters were at the forefront of riots that saw attacks on public buildings and police.
Meanwhile in İzmir, six Daesh suspects who were planning attacks during Labor Day rallies were detained in simultaneous dawn raids. Two of the suspects were Syrian nationals. Since Daesh emerged as a terrorist group in war-torn Syria, Turkey has detained over 5,000 suspects related to the terrorist group and has deported over 3,290 foreign terrorist fighters, originating from 95 different countries. It also refused entry to more than 38,269 individuals. Like other terrorist groups active in Turkey, Daesh has frequently targeted crowded places in the past two years in a string of suicide and car bombings. Apart from attacks targeting security forces, in the past two years Daesh carried out two suicide bombings at rallies held by leftist groups in southeastern Şanlıurfa province and in the capital Ankara, killing nearly 200 people.
The largest Labor Day celebration will be held in Istanbul, and authorities have taken tight measures to prevent any acts of violence. The Istanbul governorate announced that more than 30,000 policemen will be deployed across the city for security, and several roads and streets will be closed for public safety. Taksim Square, which is at the heart of Istanbul, is once again off-limits to Labor Day events, and main labor unions staging the events announced that they would hold the main rallies in the Bakırköy district. Still, as a precaution to terrorist groups trying to start riots, security forces will close down the square, and subway stations near Taksim, including the Taksim, Osmanbey and Şişhane stations, along with a line connecting Taksim to Kabataş. Ferry ports near the district, including Beşiktaş, Kabataş and Karaköy, will not be operational. In Bakırköy, several main streets will remain closed throughout the celebrations, and similarly, streets leading to Taksim will be closed to traffic.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a written message to congratulate "our worker brothers and sisters." "We hope this day will be a platform for them both to voice their problems and to find solutions to those problems," President Erdoğan said, adding that he hopes the day is celebrated "peacefully and far from provocations."