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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs