News / Middle East

Turkish Leftists Claim Attacks Before Kurdish Rebel Ceasefire

A Turkish flag is hung from the headquarters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party, apparently to conceal the damage after assailants fired a rocket on the building, in Ankara, March 20, 2013.
A Turkish flag is hung from the headquarters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party, apparently to conceal the damage after assailants fired a rocket on the building, in Ankara, March 20, 2013.
Reuters
A far leftist group claimed responsibility on Wednesday for bomb and missile attacks on Turkish government and ruling party offices overnight, and poured scorn on a budding peace process with Kurdish militants.

The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) said its members attacked the Justice Ministry and offices of the ruling AK Party with hand grenades and a shoulder-fired missile in the capital Ankara late on Tuesday.

"The AKP rules the people with police and judicial terror ... To those who constantly enforce terror, the people's justice will one day knock on your door," a statement posted on a website close to the DHKP-C said.

The blasts preceded an anticipated ceasefire call on Thursday by jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan. He has been negotiating with state officials to end a 29-year conflict that has killed 40,000 people, limited economic growth and undermined Turkey's bid for European Union membership.

The truce call, expected to coincide with the Kurdish New Year, would be a big step in what is shaping up to be the most serious effort yet to end the bloodshed with Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

The struggle with the PKK, deemed a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union as well as Ankara, is Turkey's primary domestic security concern and there are forces on both sides opposed to a resolution.

The DHKP-C and PKK were both formed in the 1970s with similar leftist ideologies, although the former pursued a virulently anti-American and anti-imperialist path, while the latter focused on Kurdish identity.

The two have cooperated in the past, and the DHKP-C would have little to gain from a peace settlement between Turkey and the PKK.

"Who are you deceiving? What 'settlement', what 'peace' are you talking about in our country where the people are woken daily by [police] operations?" the DHKP-C statement said.

Turkish police have detained more than 100 people in a series of operations against the DHKP-C since January, most recently seizing 12 people on Tuesday.

Istanbul attacks

In Diyarbakir, the largest city in the mainly Kurdish southeast, the region's main pro-Kurdish party was making final preparations for the Kurdish New Year "Newroz" celebrations, which tens of thousands of people were expected to attend.

"We will fulfil properly every duty which our leader [Ocalan] gives to us," the PKK said in a statement to mark the celebrations. But it complained that Turkey's armed forces had bombarded areas where PKK fighters are located in northern Iraq on Tuesday with artillery shells and mortar bombs.

The DHKP-C has carried out retaliatory attacks previously for arrests of its members and has become more prominent in recent months as the PKK peace process has advanced.

Early on Wednesday, a small bomb exploded near state offices in Istanbul, Turkey's business and cultural hub, damaging windows but injuring no one. Police defused separate explosives in front of a cultural center in the city.

The DHKP-C statement did not mention the Istanbul attacks.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said earlier there was a "strong probability" that the DHKP-C, one of whose members blew himself up at an entrance of the U.S. embassy on Feb. 1, killing a Turkish guard, was responsible.

"Various groups that we know to be against the [peace] process could have chosen these targets," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters. "I think this could have been done to frighten and intimidate the public."

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which is involved in the peace process, condemned the Ankara attacks.

"Everybody in favor of a solution and peace must be more resolute, determined and strong in the face of such provocations and must never take a step back," a BDP statement said.

As well as Kurdish militants and far left groups, ultra-nationalists and Islamist radicals have also carried out attacks in Turkey in the past.

In the Istanbul attacks, an assailant threw a small bomb into the garden of a local state official's offices in the Maltepe district, broadcaster NTV said.

In Ankara, the AK Party attack shattered windows on the seventh floor of its headquarters, where Erdogan has an office, while two devices detonated outside the Justice Ministry several kilometers away.

A large Turkish flag was hung from the front of the AK Party building on Wednesday, concealing the missile damage. Erdogan had already left for a visit to Denmark when the attacks occurred.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown May Be Extended

Lockdown, which started Friday, aims to allow health workers to locate hidden Ebola patients, educate others on how to avoid the deadly disease More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid