Istanbul: Police detain 38 people in anti-terror raids

Rifles, explosives, pistols and Molotov cocktails seized during searches across Okmeydani

Rifles, explosives, pistols and Molotov cocktails seized during searches across Okmeydani

ISTANBUL – At least 38 people have been taken into custody after police conducted anti-terror raids in Istanbul’s Okmeydani district.

The operation on Monday morning targeted people accused of being members of the leftist militant group Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front and participating in illegal demonstrations in Okmeydani on 22 May, during which two people died and many others were injured.

Three hunting rifles, three pistols, 46 Molotov cocktails, unidentified explosive materials, gas masks, two blank firing guns and computer files were seized during searches in 18 different areas.

A total of 26 people were alleged to be members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party’s youth structure, the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement, and another 12 of being members of leftist militant group DHKP/C.

- Explosives seized

Five of those taken into custody were reportedly under the age of 18. 

Several riot police and special operations teams took part in the operations which were coordinated by police helicopters flying overhead.

The seized Molotov cocktails and home-made explosives were allegedly prepared to be deployed against police during demonstrations.

TOMA vehicles with water canons were kept on standby and security measures were tightened around Okmeydani.

- Wounded by a grenade

Two people died and several were injured in recent protests. 

Ugur Kurt, 30, was attending a funeral procession on Thursday afternoon in a cemevi - an Alevi prayer house - close to nearby protests when a stray bullet hit him in the head. He later died of his injuries in hospital.

Ayhan Yilmaz, 42, also died from his injuries on 23 May after being wounded by a grenade during clashes between police and protestors.

The demonstrators were protesting against the coal mine tragedy in Soma, western Turkey, on 13 May in which 301 miners died, as well as the death of Istanbul teenager, Berkin Elvan, who died in March after spending 269 days in a coma after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister during the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul last year.

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