Three people, including two attackers, lost their lives in a brazen daylight attack on the Caglayan Courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest courthouse. The incident also resulted in injuries to five others.
The assault was launched by members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C), a group recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union. Their target was the courthouse’s security checkpoint.
The confrontation began on Tuesday, February 5, 2024, when the assailants opened fire at the security checkpoint outside the courthouse, leading to an immediate reaction from the security forces present.
In the ensuing exchange of gunfire, both attackers died, along with one other person whose identity remains undisclosed. Moreover, five individuals, including three police officers and two civilians, were injured.
The DHKP/C, known for its far-left ideology and violent history within Turkey, had previously targeted the same courthouse in 2015. In that incident, a prosecutor was taken hostage, leading to a tragic conclusion as police intervened.
Interior Minister, Ali Yerlikaya, provided a detailed account of the events through social media, indicating the attackers – a man and a woman – had specifically targeted a security checkpoint.
Yerlikaya also noted the attackers’ criminal past, revealing that they had previously served prison sentences for terror-related offenses.
The attack seemed to have been not only a physical assault on the courthouse but also an attempt to send a chilling message. The attack coincided with the court appearance of the elder sister of one of the assailants, who was facing terrorism charges.
The Anadolu news agency, a state-run entity, released footage showing the moment security forces neutralized the assailants in the courthouse’s forecourt following a gunfire exchange. The footage also showed bystanders fleeing in panic and chaos.
The attack marred a day of national remembrance for victims of a devastating earthquake. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s condemnation of the attack and reaffirmation of Turkey’s commitment to combating terrorism added a somber note to the day.
This incident, happening during a period of national mourning, underscores the ongoing challenges Turkey faces in maintaining security and peace within its borders.
In response to the attack, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, under the guidance of Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc, has initiated a thorough investigation.