Fethi Sekin, a traffic policeman who thwarted a major terror attack in western Turkey three years ago, was remembered on the anniversary of his death on Sunday.
Sekin was outside the main courthouse in the western city of Izmir when PKK terrorists launched an armed attack. He singlehandedly confronted the terrorists but was killed in the attack on Jan. 5, 2017.
A father of three, he was a policeman for 22 years and was assigned to Izmir in 2002, after serving in the country's volatile east where the PKK terrorist group has been sporadically conducting attacks against security personnel since the 1980s. He was near the courthouse's parking lot when a car laden with explosives approached. It was shortly before the end of working hours for judges and prosecutors inside and the parking lot was full of their cars. Sekin was suspicious of the approaching car and tried to stop it, just before the terrorist inside exited the car and started running.
Another terrorist in another car joined the running suspect as the bomb-laden car exploded. Sekin, armed only with a pistol, ran after the two suspects wielding automatic rifles. He managed to shoot one of them but ran out of ammunition during the shootout with the two men. He was killed as he tried to take cover. The other terrorist was killed by police officers who rushed to the scene.
Police discovered rocket-propelled grenade launchers, eight grenades and a large number of AK-47 ammunition in possession of the two terrorists. The attackers apparently came to the courthouse to cause major carnage, as police found another car full of explosives near the scene.
A court clerk was also killed by stray bullets.
A commemoration ceremony was held by Sekin's grave in Baskil, his hometown in eastern Turkey. A large crowd held a parade to honor "the martyr." Social media was also awash with posts remembering the "brave" policeman who was not tasked with courthouse security but nevertheless intervened to thwart the attack singlehandedly.