Turkey investigates foreign links in prosecutor's murder
Two suspected terrorists involved in the killing of Turkish prosecutor at an Istanbul courthouse Tuesday made international phone calls, Turkish PM reveals

Two suspected terrorists involved in the killing of a Turkish prosecutor at an Istanbul courthouse Tuesday made international phone calls during the attack, Turkish prime minister revealed Wednesday.

"These terrorists made some international phone calls during the terror attack, which we have been keeping track of since late yesterday," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the media after attending the funeral of slain Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz.

Kiraz, 46, died at Istanbul's Florence Nightingale Hospital after being shot multiple times. Police killed both suspected terrorists who held the prosecutor hostage inside his own office at the courthouse.

The prosecutor was handling the case of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who was critically injured during the Gezi Park protests in 2013 and later died in March 2014 following a 269-day coma.

Davutoglu said that he had given orders to nab the perpetrators and find them wherever they hid. "Do not let anyone to think that such a heinous attack will ever go unanswered," he said.

He informed that officials were examining the phone traffic during the hours-long hostage that came to a deadly end late in the night. "We will find out from where the directives were being given and will also probe into the terror network they formed," he added.

Also, Davutoglu clarified that so far no concrete evidence was found yet in a possible link between the hostage-taking episode in Istanbul and the nationwide power cut in Turkey, both of which occurred just hours apart Tuesday.

However, the premier said that the government was aware of an "alliance of evil" against Turkey that "wishes to put the entire country into a chaotic environment ahead of the June 7 parliamentary elections."

He also announced that the Caglayan Courthouse would be renamed in honor of the slain prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, whom he called a "martyr of justice."

Davutoglu also spoke about the Wednesday morning incident involving a gunman storming into a local office of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Istanbul’s Kartal district. The armed suspect was taken into custody without incident.

"If the AK Party is the target of the attack, it is because the ruling party is the last defending fortress of Turkish democracy," he said.

The premier said that the same scenarios and provocations were being employed that were previousily witnessed during the Gezi Park anti-government protests.

He warned that the government would not tolerate those who took to the streets without permission or resorted to violence and used Molotov cocktails.

Last Friday, a highly-debated domestic security reform bill was approved by the Turkish parliament that criminalized the use of "fireworks, Molotovs, iron balls and straps” at public meetings or demonstrations. Moreover, the bill said that those who covered their faces partly or entirely during demonstrations that turned into a "propaganda march” for a terrorist organization might face sentences of up to five years in prison.

Media coverage criticized

Davutoglu lashed out at media outlets that showed the photo of slain prosecutor Kiraz being held by a terrorist with a gun pointed to his head. The picture first appeared on social media websites such as Facebook allegedly on behalf of the outlawed leftist group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front.

He questioned the press ethics that went into the decision to publish the photograph and said that such acts of the media only served the propaganda of terrorists and was, in fact, disrespectful to grief and mourning of the public and the victim's families.

"What matters more than the freedom of press is human dignity. Everyone must respect that," he said.

The premier said that he instructed security officials to ask for accreditation from press members at Kiraz’s funeral ceremony in view of public sensitivities involved and in order to prevent any provocation.

"The correspondents of those media organs (who don’t respect human dignity) are not allowed either to attend the funeral or meet the family (of Kiraz) or take the photo of his children," he said. He also asked journalists to ask themselves how they would feel if the slain prosecutor was their own spouse or father.

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Last Modified: 2015-04-02 09:04:57
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