German authorities had monitored Turkish bomber of US embassy
February 5, 2013 3 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Some observers were surprised by news last week that the suicide attack at the US embassy in Turkish capital Ankara was perpetrated by secular Marxists, instead of religious extremists. But students of terrorism know that modern suicide bombings have historically been employed by secular separatist groups. These include the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, as well as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey. The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), which assumed responsibility for last Friday’s attack in Ankara, is a Marxist-Leninist splinter group, which has carried out suicide operations against its ideological enemies since at least 2001. Last week’s attack, which killed two and injured over a dozen people, was perpetrated by Ecevit Şanlı, a 40-year-old Turk from the city of Gölköy in northeastern Turkey. A member of DHKP/C for at least 20 years, in 2000 Şanlı became a cause célèbre among far-leftists in Turkey. During that year, he played a leading role in a hunger strike organized by self-described political prisoners in Turkey, in protest over prison conditions. The protest was brutally suppressed by Turkish security forces, and Şanlı barely survived it. He was eventually released on probation after serving a lengthy prison sentence. According to German sources, upon his release from prison, Şanlı moved to Germany, home to the world’s largest Turkish expatriate community. While there, he joined local leftist causes and appears to have been active in DHKP/C’s network of supporters among the Turkish community there. In 2009, German authorities briefly detained Şanlı after he was found in possession of propaganda literature belonging to DHKP/C, which is a designated foreign terrorist organization by the German government. Having been released for lack of further evidence, Şanlı was investigated again in 2011, this time for allegedly being a member DHKP/C, which is officially banned in Germany. German newsmagazine Der Spiegel claims that authorities suspected Şanlı of participating in DHKP/C fundraising activities there. German sources claim that they kept tabs on Şanlı until October of 2012, at which point he fell off the radar screen. He reappeared again last week, when he blew himself up at the gate of the US embassy in Ankara. Turkish authorities say his clothes were lined with enough explosives to blow up a two-story building. Reports from Turkey suggest that three DHKP/C members have been arrested in connection with the attack. One of them is accused of supplying Şanlı with false identity papers, which he used to enter Turkey from Germany.