Turkish prosecutor killed in hostage situation
Turkish Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was taken hostage at a courthouse in Istanbul on Tuesday by two “leftist” attackers disguised as attorneys. He has died from his wounds.
The two hostage takers were from the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). They published a photo of one of them holding a gun to the prosecutor’s head. They threatened to kill him if their demands were not met, and they only gave authorities three hours to meet those demands.
The attackers claimed to have explosives as well as the guns.
The standoff lasted for 6 hours. But soon, witnesses heard explosions, gunfire, and saw smoke billowing from the windows. Two ambulances then rushed to the scene.
Prosecutor Kiraz was shot 3 times in the head and twice in the body. He died in spite of being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
Police chief Selami Altinok stated that even though they had communication with the hostage takers, they were forced to act when they heard gunshots. The police stormed the courthouse, killing both attackers.
Kiraz was leading an investigation into the death last March of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died after nine months in a coma from a head wound sustained in anti-government protests.
The DHKP-C said on its website it wanted the police officer it blames for Elvan’s death to confess on television, the officers involved to be tried in “people’s courts”, and charges against those who attended protests for Elvan to be dropped…
“We want justice. We don’t want anyone to shed even a drop of blood. We don’t want other mothers to cry,” Sami Elvan said.
Television footage earlier in the day had shown special forces officers entering the courthouse and officials being escorted out.
The DHKP-C is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.