It’s been a tumultuous day in Turkey.
In the midst of a near-nationwide blackout that grounded planes and froze rail traffic and which officials say could be terror-linked, armed gunman have taken a prosecutor hostage in an Istanbul court house. The prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, is in charge of the investigation into the death of a 14-year old boy who died after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister in 2013 amid widespread protests. Here’s more via BBC:
A banned Marxist revolutionary group is suspected of being behind the incident.
A statement posted online said the prosecutor would be killed if their demands were not met.
Berkin Elvan, who was then 14, was struck in the head by a police tear gas canister in June 2013 as he went to buy bread during mass demonstrations that began in Istanbul and spread across Turkey.
After nine months in a coma he eventually died in an Istanbul hospital.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now Turkey's president, inflamed passions shortly after the teenager's death when he said the boy had been carrying a slingshot and had been "taken up into terrorist organisations"...
Suspected members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) took the prosecutor hostage on the sixth floor of the Caglayan court house, reports said.
A website close to the group has published a series of demands, including calls for an immediate confession from police officers responsible for the boy's death, and for an end to prosecutions of protesters charged over the clashes.
And a bit more color from Reuters:
The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) published a picture of the prosecutor with a gun to his head and said it would kill him at 1236 GMT, three hours after gunmen stormed his office, unless its demands were met.
Turkish television stations cut live broadcasts as the deadline passed, some citing a reporting ban. There was no immediate sign of any police action, according to Reuters correspondents at the scene.
Special forces have reportedly stormed the court house and the government has now imposed a press ban. Via Bloomberg:
Turkish prime ministry cites national security for imposition of a temporary press ban, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.
NOTE: Ban applies to hostage situation at the Caglayan courthouse in Istanbul.
Here are the images purported to have been posted by the group: