Seven suspects linked to the terrorist group the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) were detained in Istanbul in a police operation Thursday. The DHKP-C made headlines earlier this week when two suspects linked to the terrorist group tried to enter Parliament with a knife-like object and a hoax explosive device, allegedly to take someone hostage.
Counterterrorism police raided the İdil Culture Center, a multistory building in Istanbul's Okmeydanı neighborhood based on intelligence that the group's members were holding a meeting there. Police found digital and written propaganda material for the terrorist group in the operation.
Another police operation at the same building on Feb. 26 led to the capture of DHKP-C senior figures including Secretary-General Ümit İlter and four other high-ranking people in the terrorist group who have been wanted by authorities, along with three other suspects linked to the group.
The group, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union, is responsible for a number of attacks in Turkey, including the assassination of business tycoon Özdemir Sabancı in 1996 and an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara in 2013. The group has become less active in the country in recent years but remains a major security threat.
The DHKP-C, working under the name Dev Sol until 1994, claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile murders, including the assassination of nationalist politician Gün Sazak and former Prime Minister Nihat Erim in 1980. The group also killed several Turkish intelligence officers. In 1994, it was founded as the DHKP-C after Dev Sol splintered. The group's terror activities remained relatively minor compared to the PKK, another terrorist organization targeting Turkey.
The DHKP-C attempted to stage a bloody comeback in recent years by carrying out attacks against the police. In 2012, about 10 years after its last known lethal attack in Turkey, the DHKP-C conducted a suicide bombing at a police station in Istanbul, killing a policeman. It claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, which killed a Turkish security guard in February 2013. This was followed a month later by rocket attacks against the Ministry of Justice in Ankara and the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). In September 2013, the DHKP-C claimed responsibility for a rocket attack against the headquarters of Turkish police in the capital. No casualties were reported in the three attacks.