Italian police on Monday arrested a fugitive Turkish allegedly linked to the organization that claimed responsibility for the recent killing of a prosecutor in Istanbul.
Police sources quoted by Corriere della Sera national newspaper said the arrested, Unal Erdel, had Austrian citizenship and was in Italy on holiday with his Austrian wife and children.
Erdel, 45, was caught while exiting the hotel where he was staying in Mestre, near water city Venice in northern Italy, with his family. He looked “disconcerted” when he saw police, the newspaper noted.
“The fugitive … according to the Turkish authorities belongs to the terrorist group Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), tragically known for the kidnapping and following death of prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz,” Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano was quoted by ANSA news agency as saying.
Alfano said the fugitive, a suspected recruiter on behalf of DHKP-C, is the subject of an international warrant of arrest for terrorism and could be extradited.
Kiraz was held hostage inside a courthouse in Istanbul and died on March 31 after a shootout with special police forces. He had been investigating the killing of Berkin Elvan, a teenager who was hit by a police tear gas canister during the anti-government protests in Taksim Square events in 2013.
Turkey’s intelligence agency, the MIT, has recently come under fire by opposition parties for allegedly doing the bidding for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The DHKP-C, a leftist group listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, claimed responsibility for both the attack in Taksim Square and the hostage incident. It was also behind a suicide bombing at the U.S. embassy in 2013, and claimed responsibility for killing two policemen and an Australian tourist in 2001 in Istanbul.
Alfano highlighted that special security measures have been adopted in recent times throughout Italy to cope with increased high terrorism alert in the aftermath of January’s deadly attacks in France and later in other countries.
“All police forces are engaged tirelessly on the counterterrorism front to identify all sources of possible risk,” the interior minister stressed. Enditem