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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Istanbul prosector wounded, hostage takers killed in police storm - local media


Istanbul prosector wounded, hostage takers killed in police storm - local media

Published time: March 31, 2015 11:27 
Edited time: March 31, 2015 18:31

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Kiraz was taken hostage by the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front on Tuesday afternoon. The official gained public notoriety leading the case of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old protester who suffered injuries during the anti-government demonstrations of 2013.
Turkish security forces cut short a standoff with a far-left group that captured prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, when they launched a storm on an Istanbul court. Local media reported that all hostage takers are dead, and the court official wounded.
Elvan, who fell into a coma and died nine months later in March 2014, has become a symbolic figure for the street opposition movement in the country.


Police earlier entered the courthouse earlier to evacuate the staff, and negotiators kept in contact with the hostage-takers. Istanbul police chief Selami Altinok confirmed that a conversation with the two hostage-takers is still ongoing, after the deadline they'd given.
"We are trying to bring the incident to an end without anyone getting hurt. Negotiators are talking to the assailants," Altinok told reporters.
Top Turkish officials held an emergency meeting to discuss the unfolding crisis, on a day when the country was also hit by severe power cuts.
Sometime in the afternoon, the group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C),started posting Twitter pictures of one of its members holding a gun to Prosecutor Kiraz’s head.


It then issued a 5-point list of demands, threatening to kill the official if they're not met by 15:36 local time (12:36GMT), although Kiraz is reportedly still alive.
Like many in Turkey, the group is unhappy with the police handling of the Belkin Elvan case and is fiercely anti-government. On its website it called for the policeman blamed for the boy’s death to“confess” on live television. It also wants the officers involved to face a “people’s court,” and for the government to drop all charges against the protesters who took to the streets over Elvan’s death.
A further request was the formation of a negotiation team that the terrorists would hand-pick, including prominent figures.
Finally, it requests a safe exit from the courthouse for the hostage-takers. 

The father of the boy called on the hostage takers to set the prosecutor free. "My son is dead, the prosecutor must be released," reads a Turkish media tweet citing the father.

The group is a Marxist-Leninist outfit, founded in 1978. It’s responsible for a number of assassinations and suicide bombings, and is considered a terrorist group in Turkey, the United States, and the European Union. The group is said to be behind a number of suicide bombings. In 2001, it engaged in attacks against the Turkish police, and on September 10, 2001, carried out its bloodiest attack – a suicide bombing, which took the lives of three people along with that of the bomber’s.

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