Terrorist Organization Profile: DHKP/C

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Terrorist Organization Profile:

Mothertongue Name: Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi/Cephesi
Aliases: Dev Sol (Karatas Faction), Devrimci Sol (Karatas Faction), Revolutionary Left, Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front, RPLP/F
Bases of TURKEY
Date Formed: April 1994
Strength: Less than 1,000 members
Classifications: Leftist
Financial Sources: While the group’s activities are focused in Turkey, their funding comes from Western Europe, where much of the leadership is currently located. The group reportedly finances most of its operations through armed robberies and extortion
Founding Philosophy: The DHKP/C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front) is a Marxist, anti-Western splinter group of the Turkish terrorist group Devrimci Sol (Dev Sol). Dev Sol originated as a splinter group of Devrimci Yol (Dev Yol) which was itself a splinter group of the Turkish People’s Liberation Party-Front (THKP/C). The THKP/C was an offshoot of the broader Revolutionary Youth movement (Dev Genc) within Turkey.In the early 1990s, infighting within Dev Sol resulted in the emergence of two factions. Dursun Karatas, who founded Dev Sol by combining splintered factions of Turkish radical leftist groups in 1978, changed the group’s name to DHKP/C in 1994. Bedri Yagan, also a founding member of Dev Sol, broke from the Karatas faction and created a new faction, THKP/C (not to be confused with the original THKP/C). Confusingly, the Yagan faction of DHKP/C is still often referred to as Dev Sol.DHKP/C’s ideology is similar to that of other radical Turkish leftists. The group believes that the Turkish government is a fascist regime, controlled by the domineering, imperialist forces of the West, especially the United States and NATO. The group seeks to destroy these Western influences through violence and Marxist revolution. In its early years, when it was still known as Dev Sol, the group focused largely on political assassinations. A crackdown by Turkish authorities in the early 1980s forced the group to restrict its activities, though in the late 1980s Dev Sol was able to increase its attacks against Turkish military targets.
Current Goals: Despite internal troubles, the DHKP/C has managed to retain the ideology and goals of the original Dev Sol movement. The group has continued to conduct violent attacks against Turkish government targets as well as against Western interests in Turkey. The group has also sought to bring attention to its imprisoned members by staging hunger protests. More recently, the group has been intensely outspoken against US military operations in Afghanistan and in Iraq. DHKP/C believes that these operations are proof of the imperialist intentions of the United States.

Protesters from outlawed leftist group DHKP-C march with red flags during a May Day rally in central Istanbul, on May 1, 2011

Profile: Turkey’s Marxist DHKP-C

The Turkish extreme left-wing group accused of carrying out a suicide attack on the US embassy has waged a campaign of violence for more than three decades.

The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) has targeted figures from the military and political establishment.

Ankara says the DHKP-C has killed dozens of police officers and soldiers along with more than 80 civilians since it was formed in 1978.

The group wants to replace the Turkish government with a Marxist one.

It also opposes what it calls US imperialism and has several times targeted US military personnel and diplomatic missions.

The DHKP-C is branded as a terror organisation by the US and the EU.

In January 2013, Turkish police made more than 80 arrests in raids targeting the group.

Among those detained were students, lawyers, reporters and even members of a pop group who were thought to have links with the DHKP-C.

The group was formed in 1978 as Dev-Sol (Revolutionary Left), a Marxist-Leninist splinter group from a larger group called Dev-Yol (Revolutionary Path). It changed its name to DHKP-C in 1994.

In its early years the group recruited supporters mainly in high schools and universities.

But analysts say its main power-base is among the urban poor.

In 2000, the group spearheaded a long-running hunger strike in Turkish prisons over the introduction of high-security jails.

More than 60 people died in the prison protest, most of them DHKP-C members. Another 30 inmates were killed when the army stormed prisons in December 2000 to end the campaign.

The group has been blamed for the killings of two retired generals, a former justice minister and a prominent businessman.

Experts say that during the 2000s the DHKP-C tried to gain prominence by imitating the tactics of al-Qaeda.

But many of its senior figures fled abroad following Turkish police raids in 2004.

The group’s founding leader Dursun Karatas spent years in exile after escaping from an Istanbul prison in 1989. He died of cancer in the Netherlands 2008.

Since the late 1980s, the group has targeted primarily current and retired Turkish security and military officials. It began a new campaign against foreign interests in 1990, which included attacks against U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and facilities.

To protest what it describes as US imperialism during the Gulf war, the DHKP/C assassinated two U.S. military personnel, wounded anAir Force officer and bombed more than 20 U.S. and NATO military, commercial and cultural facilities.

It is significant that the only American killed by terrorists during the First Gulf War was a victim of Dev Sol. U.S. Insurance Executive John Gandy was murdered in his Istanbul office in February 1991 by a well-trained Dev Sol hit team that gained access to the office building by wearing Turkish National Police (TNP) uniforms. After tying Gandy to a chair the Dev Sol operatives shot him multiple times in the head. The terrorists then wrote anti-US graffiti on the office walls with the victim’s blood.

Although Dev Sol was under active investigation by the American, British, French, Austrian and Danish intelligence and security services, it posed a significant challenge for counterterrorist agents because it was one of the few terrorist organizations (at that time) to employ professional operational and counterintelligence tradecraft. It used sophisticated surveillance and countersurveillance techniques, it employed multi-layer assassination squads with surveillance, primary and secondary shooters, and it successfully exfiltrated its operatives back and forth between Western Europe and Turkey as needed. It skillfully employed professionally forged documents and disguise, and it has been claimed by opponents that it preyed on innocent Turks living in Europe, extorting money from them in exchange for “protection.” However, the DHKP/C denies any involvement in extortion and it is not unknown for criminal gangs to use the name of the DHKP/C and other armed political groups as a cover for their activities without any authorisation from or actual connection to those organisations.

On 13 August 1991 Andrew Blake, the head of British Commercial Union in Istanbul, was killed in a shooting. His killing was claimed by DHKP/C. However, the Turkish wing of Islamic Jihad also claimed the killing as their work.

In its next significant act as DHKP/C on 9 January 1996, it assassinated Özdemir Sabancı, a prominent Turkish businessman, and two others: an associate Haluk Görgün and a secretary Nilgün Hasefe. The murders were carried out by hired assassins who had been given access to the Sabanci Towers by a member, the student Fehriye Erdal, working there at that time. DHKP/C later claimed responsibility for the act.

DHKP/C added suicide bombings to its operations in 2001, with attacks against Turkish police in January and September of that year.

Security operations in Turkey and elsewhere have weakened the group, however. DHKP-C did not conduct any major attacks in 2003, although a DHKP/C female suicide bomber Sengul Akkurt’s explosive belt detonated by accident on 20 May 2003 in Ankara, in a restroom, while she was preparing for an action.

On 24 July 2004, another mistaken detonation, on a bus in Istanbul, occurred, killing Semiran Polat of DHKP-C and three more people and injuring 15 others.

On 1 July 2005, Eyüp Beyaz of DHKP-C was killed in Ankara in an attempted suicide bombing attack on the ministry of justice.

In late February 2006, female member Fehriye Erdal was convicted in Belgium, while under house arrest.[citation needed] However, shortly before her conviction she escaped and still has not been found.

On 29 April 2009, Didem Akman of DHKP-C was wounded in her attempt to assassinateHIKMET SAMI TUR at Bilkent University right before a lecture in Constitution Law. Akman and her accomplice S. Onur Yılmaz were caught.

In December 2011, high-school teacher Meral Dönmez and university student Gülşah Işıklı held up pieces of cardboard out of the window of a lawyer’s office with the text, “We do not want a rocket shield, but a democratic high school”. For this, they were convicted in October 2012 to 6 years and 8 months imprisonment for “committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization [DHKP-C] without being a member.”[3]

On February 1st, 2013,A suicide bomber suspected to be a militant from an outlawed leftwing group blew himself up at the US embassy in Ankara on Friday, killing a Turkish security guard and wounding several other peopl

Suicide attack on US embassy in Ankara kills twoDon’t forget that the US and Germany deployed troops and defensive systems to the Turkey-Syria border after a rocket attack from Syria late last year, too.  That may have angered any number of radical groups, as well as Syria and Iran.

Turkish service said witnesses had seen the bomber approach the building and enter a gate to the fortified compound. It wasn’t clear whether the bomber entered the building before detonating their explosives.

The switchboard for the U.S. Embassy is operated out of Istanbul. A switchboard operator told CBS News the embassy staff had taken cover following the explosion, explaining why nobody answered phones at the Ankara building.

The U.S. Embassy is located in the heart of Ankara. Photos and video broadcast by Turkish television showed significant damage to a wall and what appeared to be a bullet-proof window in the embassy.

“We strongly condemn what was a suicide attack against our embassy in Ankara, which took place at the embassy’s outer security perimeter,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

“A suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is by definition an act of terror,” he said. “It is a terrorist attack.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said police believe the bomber was connected to a domestic leftist militant group. Carney, however, said the motive for the attack and who was behind it was not known.

A Turkish TV journalist was seriously wounded in the 1:15 p.m. blast in the Turkish capital, and two other guards had lighter wounds, officials said.

The state-run Anadolu Agency identified the bomber as Ecevit Sanli. It said the 40-year-old Turkish man was a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, which has claimed responsibility for assassinations and bombings since the 1970s.

The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States but had been relatively quiet in recent years.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her farewell speech to State Department staff moments after she formally resigned as secretary of state, said “we were attacked and lost one of our foreign service nationals.”

She said she spoke with U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, “our team there and my Turkish counterpart. I told them how much we valued their commitment and their sacrifice.”

Sen. John Kerry, the incoming secretary of state, also was briefed.

The U.S. Embassy building in Ankara is heavily protected and located near several other embassies, including those of Germany and France.

U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey have been targeted previously by terrorists. In 2008, an attack blamed on al-Qaida-affiliated militants outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul left three assailants and three policemen dead.

On Sept. 11, 2012, terrorists attacked a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The attackers in Libya were suspected to have ties to Islamist extremists, and one is in custody in Egypt.

Friday’s bombing occurred at a security checkpoint at the side entrance to the U.S. Embassy, which is used by staff.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said a man detonated a suicide vest at the checkpoint on the outer perimeter of the embassy compound.

“He came to this first point of access to the compound … where you have to have your ID checked, you have to go through security,” Nuland said.

The guard who was killed was standing outside the checkpoint, while the two wounded guards “were standing in a more protected area,” said Interior Minister Muammer Guler said.

The two were treated on the scene and did not require hospital treatment, he said.

“The level of security protection at our facility in Ankara ensured that there were not significantly more deaths and injuries than there could have been,” Nuland told reporters in Washington.

“This is one of the compounds where we have been making steady security upgrades over the last decade,” Nuland said. “And in fact, the attack was at one of the exterior compound access sites. So it was far from the main building, and it was a result of the way that was hardened that we only lost the one local security guard. And in fact, there were other security guards inside the building behind the glass who were only shaken up by this.”

While praising its security and the response of Turkish authorities, Nuland noted that the embassy in Ankara is due for a completely new compound in future. She described the current main building as a 1950s complex that “needs a full upgrade.”

The Hurriyet newspaper said staff at the embassy took shelter in a “safe room” inside the compound soon after the explosion.

Police swarmed the area and immediately cordoned it off. Forensic investigators in white outfits and gloves soon combed the site.

TV news video showed the embassy door blown off its hinges. The blast also shattered the windows of nearby businesses, littering debris on the ground and across the road. The inside of the embassy did not appear to be damaged.

Television video also showed what appeared to be a U.S. guard in a helmet and body armor surveying the area from the roof of an embassy building.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy thanked Turkey for “its solidarity and outrage over the incident.”

Ricciardone declared that the U.S. and Turkey “will continue to fight terrorism together,” and described the U.S. Embassy compound as secure.

“From today’s event, it is clear that we both suffer from this terrible, terrible problem of today’s world. We are determined after events like this even more to cooperate together until we defeat this problem together,” he said.

Erdogan echoed that sentiment, saying the attack aimed to disturb Turkey’s “peace and prosperity” and demonstrated a need for international cooperation against terrorism.

“We will stand firm and we will overcome this together,” he said.

Nuland said U.S. officials were “working closely with the Turkish national police to make a full assessment of the damage and the casualties, and to begin an investigation.”

Carney, the White House spokesman, said the attack would strengthen the resolve of Turkey and the U.S.

“Turkey remains one of our strongest partners in the region, a NATO ally,” he said. “We have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Turks to counter terror threats. Turkey has been a very important ally, broadly speaking and in the effort to counter terrorism.”

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed Turkey would spare no effort in protecting diplomatic facilities.

“We have always shown great sensitivity to the protection of foreign missions and we will continue to do so,” he said.

The injured journalist was 38-year-old Didem Tuncay, who until recently had worked for NTV television. A hospital official said she was “not in critical condition.”

Ricciardone visited her in the hospital and told reporters outside that he had invited her to the U.S. Embassy for tea.

He also paid tribute to the Turkish guard who was killed, calling him a “Turkish hero” who died while defending U.S. and Turkish staff.

Americans in Turkey were warned to avoid visiting the embassy or U.S. consulates in Istanbul and Adana until further notice and were told to register on the State Department’s website.

“The Department of State advises U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Turkey to be alert to the potential for violence, to avoid those areas where disturbances have occurred, and to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings,” the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul said in a statement.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the attack “in the strongest terms” and said Turkey and the U.S. will get the U.K.’s full support as they seek to hold those responsible to account.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmusen added his condemnation, calling it “an outrageous attack” that “shows a reckless disregard for human life and for the inviolability of diplomatic staff.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a message to President Barack Obama, saying he was “shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious terrorist attack.”

Ed Royce, the chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the attack was “another stark reminder of the constant terrorist threat against U.S. facilities, personnel and interests abroad.”

“Coming after Benghazi, it underscores the need for a comprehensive review of security at our diplomatic posts.  The committee stands ready to assist the State Department in protecting our diplomats,” he said in a statement.

Turkey’s parliament speaker, Cemil Cicek, linked Friday’s attack to the arrest last month of nine Turkish human rights lawyers, who prosecutors have accused of links to the DHKP-C.

“There was an operation against this organization,” Cicek said and suggested the attack could be an attempt by the group to “say ‘We are still here, we are alive.'”


The suspect, named as Ecevit
Şanlı, spent time in prison in
the past, the reports added.

The attack destroyed the entrance to the embassy building, he added, adding that the force of the explosion left body parts strewn around the scene.

Fehriye Erdal

Fehriye Erdal is a female political activist from Turkey. She was one of the three DHKP-Cmembers allegedly involved in the assassination of a Turkish businessman, Özdemir Sabancı and two of his employees on 9 January 1996 in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2008, however, she was acquitted of this charge.

In 1999, she was captured in Belgium.[3] At the time of her arrest, she held a fake passport under the name Nese Yildirim. Belgian officials were able to identify her only after her fingerprints were taken.

In 2006, a couple of hours before her sentence was announced and in spite of being under 24-hour surveillance of the Belgian Secret Service, she managed to flee.[4] She was to be sentenced to a four-year imprisonment in Belgium for the crimes she had committed in that country.[5] She would later be handed over to Turkey in order to be tried for her involvement in terrorist activities within the borders of the Turkish Republic.

Since her escape, Interpol has issued a red bulletin for Fehriye Erdal sending a message to its 186 member countries that she is to be captured and returned to Belgium.[6] Although there have been reports that she has been seen in Cyprus and Jordan, there is no solid information on her whereabouts.

In 2011, Belgian Investigators claimed they were no longer actively looking for Erdal, and that they believe she might be dea

Erdal, Fehriye
Born 25 February 1977[1][2]
Adana [1][2]
Nationality Turkish
Organization DHKP-C