85 arrested in Turkey raids on banned left-wing group

January 19, 2013 - 12:00:00 am
ANKARA: Turkish police launched a major nationwide crackdown Friday on a banned left-wing group, arresting 85 people including attorneys, teachers and university students, local media reported.


The dawn raids in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and other cities targeted the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP-C), a Marxist group blamed for several acts of terror in Turkey since the late 1970s.


Among the suspects were at least 13 lawyers, according to media reports.


A dozen of them were working for the Contemporary Lawyers' Association (CHD), known for defending left-wing activists, which staged demonstrations in Istanbul and Izmir to protest the "illegal" arrests.


In Istanbul, the raid was denounced by a group of lawyers who gathered outside a courthouse, carrying placards reading: "Free our colleagues".


Several university students and two teachers were also arrested in the crackdown, on suspicion that they were plotting to attack security forces, Anatolia news agency reported without citing any sources.


Attacks by the outlawed group over the years have left dozens of people dead, including two retired generals and a former justice minister.


The group, identified as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, most recently claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed a police officer in Istanbul on September 11. (AFP)