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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs