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Far leftists claim Istanbul attack on US consulate

DHKP-C member shot by police after gunfire outside US compound on same day PKK blamed for deadly police station bombing elsewhere in city
A Turkish special force police officer is pictured during clashes with attackers on August 10, 2015 at the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul (AFP)

A far left group has claimed responsibility for an attack targeting the US consultate in Istanbul on the same day a deadly bombing at a police station in the city was blamed on Kurdish separatists.

Two people opened fire outside the US diplomatic compound in Turkey's largest city before fleeing the scene when police shot back, with a female suspect later apprehended over the incident.

The attack was later claimed by the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) in a statement on its website which said that a 42-year-old woman, Hatice Asik, was shot by police and taken to hospital.

"Our struggle will continue until imperialism and its collaborators leave our country and every parcel of our homeland is cleared of US bases," it said, praising Asik as "our honour".

The DHKP-C are a far-left militant organisation which since the 1970s has carried out numerous attacks against what it sees as the "imperialist" and "fascist" Turkish state.

Originally founded as the Revolutionary Left in 1978, the group was renamed in 1994, inspired by the Marxist-Leninism of the Soviet Union and Maoist 'People's War' theories with an aim of driving US bases and NATO out of Turkey and establishing a socialist state.

The group recently hit the headlines after abducting the prosecutor in the case of Berkin Elvan, a 14-year old killed following 2013's Gezi Park protests.

The attack followed a suspected suicide bombing outside a police station in the suburb of Sultanbeyli which injured 10. Two suspected militants were killed on Monday in clashes with police following the attack, while the head of the police bomb disposal department later died of injuries sustained.

A Turkish official in Ankara told the AFP news agency that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was behind the attacks.

A Turkish special force police officer is pictured during clashes with attackers on August 10, 2015 at the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul (AFP)

The renewal of hostilities between the Turkish state and the PKK has led to attacks on soldiers and police stations in the country’s southeast.

On Monday, suspected PKK fighters in Turkey's southeastern Sirnak province shot at a military helicopter, killing one and wounding another. The fighters fired anti-aircraft guns and rocket-propelled grenades at the helicopter as it was deploying military personnel in the Beytussebap district.

Turkish special force police officers clear the street during clashes with attackers on August 10, 2015 at the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul (AFP)

AFP also reported that four Turkish police had been killed by a roadside bomb in Cizre province in the southeast.

Analysts on Twitter had earlier suggested that the DHKP-C was a more likely perpetrator of the attack on the US consulate, noting that the PKK did not usually attack foreign targets following a declaration in 2012. The DHKP-C also carried out a suicide bombing against the US embassy in Ankara in 2013.

Turkey has also become involved in bombing campaigns against Islamic State (IS) in Syria following a bomb blast in the border town of Suruc which killed 33 socialist activists.

On Monday, the US delivered six F-16 fighter jets to Turkey's Incirlik airbase for use in the fight against IS.

However, Kurdish activists have criticised the Turkish government who they accuse of focusing far more attention on striking PKK bases in northern Iraq than targeting IS, with whom the PKK has also been fighting.

According to anonymous security sources quoted by the Anadolu news agency, Turkish forces have killed a total of 390 people in two weeks of airstrikes targeting the PKK.

Mass police raids have also been conducted, with at least 1,300 people arrested in less than two weeks.

In an interview with the BBC on Monday, Cemil Bayik - current de facto leader of the PKK - said that the Turkish state was tacitly aiding IS.

"Turkey claim they are fighting IS," he said. "In fact they are fighting the PKK. They're doing it to limit the PKK fight against them, thus advancing his aim of Turkishness in Turkey."

"If Turkey accepts a unilateral ceasefire, stops its military operations, then we will stop fighting as well," he added.

"But Turkey needs to accept an independent monitor to oversee the ceasefire. If either side violates the agreement, the independent monitor would let the world know who broke the ceasefire."

Turkish forces have killed a total of 390 people in two weeks of airstrikes targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to anonymous security sources quoted by Anadolu Agency. - See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/turkey-claims-kill-390-pkk-members-two-weeks-airstrikes-853144771#sthash.48MEjnq5.dpuf