Turkish prosecutor prolongs detention of suspects in foiled parliament attack

A prosecutor in Turkey has ordered an additional four-day detention for two suspected left-wing militants who tried to enter the parliament on Tuesday with sharp objects and a fake explosive device, pro-government news outlet A Haber reported on Wednesday. 

The suspects, a man and a woman, identified as members of the banned far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) were detained on Tuesday after they arrived at the parliament building and tried to take a security official hostage before they were subdued. 

Two security guards were reportedly injured by a sharp object during the melee.

The suspects, who were carrying sharp objects and an item that was made to look like a bomb, said they were paying a visit to Mahmut Tanal, Istanbul deputy for main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who had reportedly invited them, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Opposition CHP lawmaker Tanal, in a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday, spoke on Tuesday’s foiled attack, saying that he might not be alive if the attackers had been successful in getting through to his office in Parliament.

Tanal also accused pro-government media outlets of manipulating news to link him to a terrorist organisation while asking how two people with weapons were able to make it through parliament’s security.

“It doesn’t write terrorist group member on the forehead of the person who comes to visit me,‘’ he said, adding that there is no way he could have known the attackers wishing to see him were terrorists.

The CHP lawmaker said he did not know the suspects and had never met them.

‘’This is the second leg of the attempted lynching on our leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in Çubuk Ankara. This is part of an intimidation policy. But they won’t dissuade me from working,‘’ Tanal said regarding reports linking him to DHKP-C.

Parliamentary Speaker Mustafa Şentop on Wednesday said the investigation into the foiled attack was ongoing and praised the parliament’s security system.

“The present system gathers security information about everyone that enters the building. The control of the security system is with our security forces. If there is any other measure needed, it will be taken,” Şentop said.

The DHKP-C is on Turkey’s list of terrorist organisations and has history of carrying out attacks and assassinations in country since the 1980s.

The group carried out four attacks in Istanbul in 2015, killing one police officer and injuring dozens. In another incident in 2015, DHKP-C militants killed a Turkish prosecutor after taking him hostage in Çağlayan courthouse in Istanbul.