No step back in peace talks after attacks -Erdogan

Prime Minister said his government will never take a step back in its latest efforts to address the country's terror problem despite recent attacks targeting his party

No step back in peace talks after attacks -Erdogan

World Bulletin/News Desk

 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his government will never take a step back in its latest efforts to address the country's terror problem despite recent attacks targeting his Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

“The AK Party is not a party that would backtrack in its path or put on the brakes after these heinous attacks,” Erdoğan said on Friday during his party's expanded meeting of provincial chairmen. He was referring to attacks on a ministry building and AK Party headquarters in Ankara earlier this week, which were interpreted as a move aiming to sabotage the peace process.

On Tuesday evening, assailants threw two hand grenades into the annex of the Ministry of Justice, while two gunmen launched an attack on AK Party headquarters using a light anti-tank weapon (LAW). No casualties were reported, although one person was slightly injured.

Claiming responsibility for the attacks, the left-wing Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) said in a statement on Wednesday that its “fighters” had attacked the Ministry of Justice, which is the symbol of “injustice” in Ankara, and the AK Party headquarters. The statement said the two buildings were the most well guarded buildings in Turkey and that the group had chosen after-work hours to minimize injury to ministry and AK Party headquarters staff. It also said that it had not aimed to injure the one person who was hurt in the attack and expressed sympathy to him and his family.

Police operations

The police carried out operations early on Friday at 14 locations in Ankara to find the members of the left-wing DHKP/C believed to be responsible for two recent attacks on the Ministry of Justice and AK Party headquarters.

Following the attacks, the Ankara police intensified its operations into the organization to capture the suspected perpetrators of the attacks, who can be seen in security camera footage of the targeted buildings. The police were trying to find three DHKP-C members – Muharrem Karataş (35), Hasan Biber (55) and Murat Korkut (32) -- who were believed to have been involved in the attacks. Early on Friday, the Ankara police conducted raids at 14 locations in Ankara's Mamak district. Police reportedly detained a number of people for suspected membership in a "terrorist organization." Three major suspects in the Ankara attacks have not yet been captured, according to news agency reports.

According to a Hürriyet daily report on Friday, Biber, who is believed to be responsible for the attack against the Justice Ministry, is from the group's Syria branch. The report also states that the LAW attack that targeted AK Party headquarters was perpetrated by Karataş, who is from Çorum province, while Korkut allegedly aided and abetted him.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told reporters following an event held in Ankara on Friday that the police have not yet captured the suspected perpetrators of the attacks on AK Party headquarters and the Justice Ministry. Arınç stated that the Ankara police are working intensely to find the major suspects, adding that the police have conducted numerous operations on the terrorist group to locate and seize documents that will help them find the suspects.

Before the Ankara attacks, the group also became the subject of intense scrutiny due to an attack on the US Embassy in Ankara on Feb. 1. A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at the entrance of the embassy, killing himself and a Turkish security guard and critically wounding a journalist on her way to visit the ambassador. Soon after the bombing, the DHKP/C posted a statement on a website claiming responsibility for the suicide attack. Following the attack, the police issued warrants for the detention of 167 people and launched simultaneous operations in 28 provinces across Turkey in February, targeting the group. Dozens of people, most of them public servants working in various state agencies and institutions, were detained in the operation on charges of being members. Police seized a large number of documents and hard disks during the raids.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Mart 2013, 11:52