How did Turkey's far-left DHKP-C group start?
The far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front was behind an attack on the US Consulate this week. (AFP/File)
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The far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) group has been accused of destabilizing Turkey by targeting the country’s key institutions and carrying out assassinations of top officials, Turkish security sources say.
Leadership behind bars
The DHKP-C group had inherited the organization, Revolutionary Left (Dev-Sol), which was active since 1980. It became DHKP-C in 1994 with the leadership of Dursun Karatas. It purportedly supports Marxist-Leninist ideology and it was mostly active during the Cold War era. However, in recent years the group has revived its terrorist activities.
After the death of Karatas in 2008, a leadership crisis arose within the DHKP-C and a key group member, Huseyin Fevzi Tekin, was seen as the new leader.
Tekin was arrested last February under a fake Bulgarian identity in an ammunition-laden safe house in Athens. He was arrested along with Murat Korkut, Bilgehan and Ismail Akkol.
Among many charges, the three were also suspected of being involved in the assassination of prominent Turkish businessman Ozdemir Sabanci in 1996 in Istanbul.
Tekin was also convicted on charges of possession of weapons and explosives.
The DHKP-C has carried out a number of attacks in Turkey, including on US diplomatic missions and Turkish security forces.
On Monday, two suspected DHKP-C members attacked the US Consulate General in Istanbul. There were no casualties.
The DHKP-C was also behind a suicide bombing at the US embassy in Ankara in February 2013, which claimed the life of a Turkish security guard. The suicide bomber in the attack was identified as Ecevit Sanli, who was registered in northern Ordu province.
In 2008, gunmen attacked the US Consulate in Istanbul's Istinye district on July 9, leaving three security personnel dead. Three assailants were also killed in the clash that broke out following the attack; two suspects -- Dursun Patan and Servet Cinar -- were prosecuted in the case for allegedly being members of Al Qaeda.
The DHKP-C was also involved in the killing of a prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, at a courthouse in Istanbul in March this year.
Kiraz, 46, was taken hostage at Caglayan court, the largest in Turkey, and shot by his captors after six-hours of negotiations. The two hostage-takers, who released photographs of Kiraz with a pistol to his head during the siege, were killed by security forces.
Another attack was carried out by Elif Sultan Kalsen, a suspected member of the DHKP-C, on Istanbul's Police Department a day after the killing of Kiraz. Kalsen was shot dead and her male accomplice arrested shortly after the attack.
In 2013, DHKP-C members Hasan Biber and Muharrem Karatas allegedly attacked the Turkish Interior Ministry and Justice and Development (AK) Party’s headquarters in Ankara.
Also, in 2003, suspects Karatas and Serdar Polat allegedly attacked a police building in Ankara. Karatas was shot dead after started firing at police.
On April 16 this year, Turkish security forces seized files belonging to DHKP-C members which allegedly showed that numerous high-ranking Turkish officials and businessmen had been designated as potential assassination targets.
According to Turkey’s Anti-Terror and Operations Office, the group's leaders had allegedly ordered several armed attacks against Turkish military, police headquarters, and national intelligence service buildings.
Moreover, the seized files detailed a plan to garner extensive coverage from Turkish and international media through such attacks.
Last month, on July 20, a suicide bombing in Suruc, a southern Turkish town, killed 32 people who had been planning to engage in efforts to rebuild the Syrian town of Kobani after it was devastated by clashes involving Daesh.
The country has since witnessed a wave of bombings, shootings and arrests. Turkey has responded by arresting more than 1,300 suspected supporters of illegal groups, including Daesh, the PKK and the DHKP-C.