Bloody end to Turkey prosecutor hostage crisis

2015-04-01 09:18

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Istanbul - Istanbul police stormed a central courthouse late on Tuesday and killed two people who had broken into the building nine hours earlier to take hostage a prosecutor investigating a death related to anti-government demonstrations in 2013.

Istanbul police chief Selami Altinok confirmed the two were dead. He said police had negotiated with the hostage-takers for six hours and only launched the assault after hearing gunshots from the prosecutor's office.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced late on Tuesday that the prosecutor had died in hospital of his wounds. Davutoglu offered condolences to the family and called the hostage-taking an attack on Turkish justice and democracy, the news agency Anadolu reported.

The two hostage-takers declared allegiance to militant group DHKP-C, which threatened on its Facebook page to kill the prosecutor, posting images of the gagged man on the site.

Investigations into demonstrators

The group had demanded on its Facebook page that police who were responsible for the death of Berkin Elvans confess and that all investigations into demonstrators who protested the youth's death be halted.

Berkin was hit in the head by a tear gas canister during the 2013 protests, never regained consciousness and died in March 2014 at age 15. There has been no movement in investigations into his death.

Berkin's father, Sami Elvan, had said on Twitter that he did not want anyone to be hurt. "I only want just [legal] proceedings," he tweeted.

The standoff began when two people forced their way into the prosecutor's office on the sixth floor of the building, Altinok told Turkish media. The incident occurred during a power outage affecting all of Istanbul.

The 2013 protests were sparked by government plans to develop an Istanbul park.

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