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Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 April 2014
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), 30 April 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5362296f14.html [accessed 26 July 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

aka DHKP/C; Dev Sol; Dev Sol Armed Revolutionary Units; Dev Sol Silahli Devrimci Birlikleri; Dev Sol SDB; Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi; Devrimci Sol; Revolutionary Left

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) was originally formed in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev Sol, a splinter faction of Dev Genc (Revolutionary Youth). It was renamed in 1994 after factional infighting. "Party" refers to the group's political activities, while "Front" is a reference to the group's militant operations. The group advocates a Marxist-Leninist ideology and opposes the United States, NATO, and Turkish establishments. Its goals are the establishment of a socialist state and the abolition of harsh high-security Turkish prisons.

Activities: Since the late 1980s, the group has primarily targeted current and retired Turkish security and military officials, although it has conducted attacks against foreign interests, including U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and facilities, since 1990. The DHKP/C assassinated two U.S. military contractors and wounded a U.S. Air Force officer in the 1990s, and bombed more than 20 U.S. and NATO military, diplomatic, commercial, and cultural facilities. DHKP/C added suicide bombings to its repertoire in 2001, with attacks against Turkish police in January and September that year. Since the end of 2001, DHKP/C has typically used improvised explosive devices against official Turkish targets and U.S. targets of opportunity.

Operations and arrests against the group have weakened its capabilities, although attacks continued. In late June 2004, the group was suspected of a bus bombing at Istanbul University, which killed four civilians and wounded 21. In July 2005, in Ankara, police intercepted and killed a DHKP/C suicide bomber who attempted to attack the Ministry of Justice. In June 2006, the group killed a police officer in Istanbul; four members of the group were arrested the next month for the attack.

The DHKP/C was dealt a major ideological blow when Dursun Karatas, leader of the group, died in August 2008. After the loss of their leader, the DHKP/C reorganized in 2009 and was reportedly competing with the Kurdistan Workers' Party for influence in both Turkey and with the Turkish diaspora in Europe.

The group was responsible for a number of high profile attacks in 2012; including a suicide bombing of a police station in Istanbul. This tactic continued in 2013 when, on February 1, a DHKP/C operative exploded a suicide vest inside the employee entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. Besides himself, the explosion killed a Turkish guard and seriously wounded a visiting Turkish journalist. On March 19, using grenades and rocket launchers, three members of the group attacked the Ministry of Justice and the Ankara headquarters of the Turkish Justice and Development political party. The DHKP/C also claimed a similar attack on September 20, when two members of the DHKP/C fired rockets at the Turkish National Police (TNP) headquarters and a police guesthouse. One operative was arrested and the other killed after the attack. No other Turkish casualties were reported in either attack.

Strength: Probably several dozen members inside Turkey, with a support network throughout Europe.

Location/Area of Operation: Turkey, primarily in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana. Many members live and plan operations in European countries.

Funding and External Aid: The DHKP/C finances its activities chiefly through donations and extortion, and raises funds primarily in Europe.

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