Turkish Marxist group claims US consulate attack in Istanbul

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 11, 2015, 00:38 AM IST
Turkish Marxist group claims US consulate attack in Istanbul

An outlawed radical Turkish Marxist group on Monday claimed responsibility for a gun attack on the US consulate in Istanbul, the latest strike by the secretive organisation.

The Revolutionary People`s Liberation Front (DHKP-C) said on its website that one of its female militants carried out Monday`s attack, which left no reported casualties.

It named the attacker as Hatice Asik and said she was arrested and taken to hospital after being shot by police.

"The American consulate at Istinye was struck by people`s warrior Hatice Asik," the group said, labelling the United States as "chief enemy of people in the Middle East and in the world."

"Our struggle will continue until imperialism and its collaborators leave our country and every parcel of our homeland is cleared of US bases," it said.

The attack comes as Turkey opens its southeastern Incirlik air base to US fighter jets to carry out bombing raids against Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria.

Turkish authorities said Asik was captured wounded and another female militant was at large following the shooting.

Turkish media reported that Asik, 51, whose code name is "Hulya", was released on July 8 from an Istanbul prison pending trial. 

She had been arrested for providing a house for two DHKP-C militants who attacked an Istanbul police station three years ago, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on its website. 

She was facing life imprisonment on charges of "membership in an organisation" and "changing constitutional order", it added, and was next due in court on October 5.A Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, meanwhile said the outlawed Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK) was behind a suicide bombing and gun attack Monday on an Istanbul police station that left three militants and a top police official dead.

However, the attack was also claimed by a smaller leftist group, the People`s Defence Units (HSB), on its Twitter feed. 

"Three of our freedom fighters were martyred in the suicide attack. A member of the occupying forces has been punished in the suicide attack," it said, vowing the attacks would continue.

Tensions are high in Turkey after it launched an offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists and Kurdish militants following a series of attacks inside Turkey. 

Authorities have also arrested more than 1,300 suspects since last month in police raids nationwide targeting suspected PKK and IS members as well as the DHKP-C.

The DHKP-C, known until the mid-1990s as Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left), is a deeply secretive group which goes quiet for periods before re-emerging to stage attacks.

Mainly active in Istanbul, it seeks a Marxist revolution in Turkey among the working classes but also espouses a fiercely anti-Western and anti-NATO agenda. 

It claimed the hostage-taking on March 31 of prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz at his Istanbul office that ended with the killing of the captive and both hostage-takers during a police raid.

The DHKP-C is classified as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union. 

The group had claimed a 2013 suicide attack at the US embassy in Ankara that left a security agent dead.