Court arrests 7 in an investigation against DHKP-C terrorist group
by Sena Alkan
ISTANBULApr 05, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Sena Alkan
Apr 05, 2015 12:00 am
Seven people were arrested yesterday by an Istanbul court as part of an operation against the illegal DHKP-C terrorist organization launched after two organization members murdered Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz
Seven suspects, including two youths younger than 18 and one British citizen, were arrested yesterday in an operation launched on Thursday in Istanbul's Okmeydanı district after Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was killed by two members of the terrorist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) last week.
In Thursday's operation, 24 people with alleged links to the terrorist organization were detained and referred to the court Sunday, as two youths younger than 18 were arrested, and one was released under a judicial control decision. Out of 19 adult suspects (older than 18), seven were detained, and six were referred to court with an order of judicial control. Among those seven people, one British national of Polish origin, Stephan Shak Kacynski, is included.
The court order listed the reasons for the British national's detainment: He is a foreign national caught in a location where an illegal terrorist organization congregates, he attends the illegal armed terrorist organization's meetings, and he might flee.
Denying the accusations and alleged link with the terrorist organization, Kacynski said that he is a Scotland-born translator and came to Turkey for one week in 1996 and 2011 to improve his Turkish. He also stated in his testimony that in 2014, he arrived in the country to act as an interpreter for a seminar in a socialist project.
"Since I have a socialist viewpoint, I hear about symposiums related to [these ideologies]. I arrived in Istanbul in February," said Kacynski, who was reportedly at the offices of the İdil Culture Center, which is associated with the group, when he was detained by police. He also denied the accusation that he has links to the terrorist organization or with intelligence of any country.
Kacynski, who occasionally writes articles on the terrorist organization on various websites, is a frequent traveler to Turkey. According to media outlets, he is a former member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, a Marxist-Leninist movement, and he monitored the trial of an Austrian national accused of joining a DHKP-C rally for the Scottish Socialist Party. He was present as an observer during trials of DHKP-C members in the 1990s and early 2000s. Turkish media outlets, quoting intelligence sources, reported that Kacynski was involved in the "activities" of the terrorist organization in Germany and Greece and often visited Istanbul and had contacts with various groups affiliated with the DHKP-C.
Turkish police had rounded up dozens of supporters of the terrorist organization in operations against the group in Istanbul and several other cities. Apart from Kacynski, six senior figures of DHKP-C and members of a band known for its support of the terrorist organization were detained in operations in Okmeydanı, a working-class neighborhood on Istanbul's European side. Okmeydanı is known as one of the strongholds of the DHKP-C, and it is often the scene of violent riots by the organization's supporters. Along with the suspects, police seized several weapons, ammunition and jamming devices. Turkish media reported that the raided places had tight security, and police had to remove a set of 11 steel doors in one location to enter before the suspected militants burned or destroyed evidence that might link them to the organization.
Mehmet Selim Kiraz was in his sixth-floor office at the Çağlayan Courthouse complex on Istanbul's European side when two gunmen entered last week. Soon, the assailants released photos on social media showing one of them pointing a gun to Kiraz's head and listing a series of demands. Their motivation was apparently Kiraz's role as the prosecutor investigating the death of Berkin Elvan, a rioter who took part in the 2013 Gezi Park protests. Elvan died last year after 269 days in a coma induced by injuries he suffered when a tear gas canister fired by police hit him. The DHKP-C had adopted him as a symbol of its efforts to draw support for a violent campaign against Turkish security forces. After hours of negotiations, a police special forces unit stormed the room when gunshots were heard. Two terrorists were killed, and Kiraz, already heavily injured when gunmen shot him multiple times before the raid, succumbed to his wounds in hospital.
The DHKP-C is an offshoot of a Marxist-Leninist movement that was established in the 1970s. The organization was founded in the 1990s after it splintered from a larger group of far-left organizations responsible for a string of attacks. It kept a relatively low profile for many years, but in 2013 a DHKP-C militant carried out a suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy compound in Ankara, killing a Turkish security guard.