Saturday 24 March 2018

Three are killed after courthouse siege in Turkey ends in shoot-out

Turkish special forces outside the Justice Palace in Istanbul where two gunmen took a hostage
Turkish special forces outside the Justice Palace in Istanbul where two gunmen took a hostage
In this picture obtained from the Ilhas News Agency Turkish an alleged millitant from the Turkish Marxist-Leninist left wing organisation, the DHKP-C, holds a gun to the head of prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz in Istanbul
An ambulance leaves the Justice Palace in Istanbul. A Turkish prosecutor was critically injured and two of his captors were killed on Tuesday, after security forces stormed the courthouse where a far-left group had taken the prosecutor hosta
Members of special security forces enter the main courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey, where a chief prosecutor was held hostage (AP)
Members of Turkish police special forces unit hug each other at the end of the hostage situation at the Justice Palace in Istanbul. Photo: Reuters/Osman Orsal
Members of the security forces stand outside the main courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey (AP)

Desmond Butler

Two members of a banned leftist group and a prosecutor they held hostage inside a courthouse in Istanbul died yesterday after a shoot-out between the hostage takers and police.

Istanbul police chief Selami Altinok said police had negotiated with the gunmen for six hours before the violent end of the hostage situation.

The prosecutor - identified by the state-run Anadolu Agency and state television TRT as Mehmet Selim Kiraz - was shot in the head during the standoff and rushed to hospital where doctors tried to save his life, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and hospital officials later announced he had died.

Speaking in Ankara, Davutoglu said the hostage takers have been identified and had dressed up as lawyers in order to sneak in arms inside courthouse. He did not give any other new information.

Kiraz was the prosecutor investigating the death of a teenager who was hit by a police gas canister fired during nationwide anti-government protests in 2013.

A website close to the left-wing DHKP-C group said that militants from the banned organization had taken the prosecutor hostage at midday and had given authorities three hours to meet five demands, including forcing policemen held responsible for the teenager's killing to confess to the death.

The group also demanded that the policemen be tried by "peoples' courts" and for court officials to drop prosecutions or investigations against people who took part in protests denouncing the boy's death.

The website showed a picture of someone holding a gun to a man's head with posters from the group in the background.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Orhan Kapici confirmed that the incident was related to Kiraz's investigation into the boy's death. The DHKP-C, which seeks a socialist state, is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. The group has carried out sporadic attacks, including a suicide bombing on the US Embassy in 2013 that killed a security guard.

Irish Independent

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