Country Report on Terrorism 2019 - Chapter 5 - Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)

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 an FTO on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) was 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 and “Front” alludes to the group’s militant operations.  The group advocates a Marxist-Leninist ideology and opposes the United States, NATO, and the Turkish establishment.  It strives to establish a socialist state and to abolish Turkish prisons.

Activities:  Since the late 1980s, the group has primarily targeted current and retired Turkish security and military officials.  In 1990, the group began conducting attacks against foreign interests, including U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and facilities.  The DHKP/C assassinated two U.S. military contractors, wounded a U.S. Air Force officer, and bombed more than 20 U.S. and NATO military, diplomatic, commercial, and cultural facilities.  In 2001, the DHKP/C began conducting its first suicide bombing attacks against Turkish police.  Since the end of 2001, DHKP/C has typically used IEDs against official Turkish and U.S. targets.

The DHKP/C was responsible for many high-profile attacks in 2012, including the suicide bombing of a police station in Istanbul.  In February 2013, a DHKP/C operative exploded a suicide vest inside the employee entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.  The explosion killed a Turkish guard and seriously wounded a Turkish journalist.  In March 2013, three members of the group attacked the Ministry of Justice and the Ankara headquarters of the Turkish Justice and Development political party using grenades and rocket launchers.

In 2015, the DHKP/C claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed one police officer and wounded another.  In March 2015, Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was taken hostage and died from multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by the DHKP/C after police attempted to rescue him.  In August 2015, two women opened fire on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul; one woman was identified as a member of the DHKP/C.

On January 20, 2017, a DHKP/C militant launched an anti-tank missile into Istanbul police headquarters.  The attack did not result in any deaths or injuries.

In November 2018, a court in Istanbul issued an arrest warrant for members of the DHKP/C who were believed to be in Europe and connected with the 2015 death of  Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz.

In May 2019, two individuals linked to the DHKP/C were arrested by Turkish security forces, after entering the Turkish Parliament and taking a staff member hostage.

Strength:  The DHKP/C is estimated to have several dozen members inside Turkey, with a support network throughout Europe.

Location/Area of Operation:  Turkey and Europe

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