Two members of a banned leftist group and a prosecutor they held hostage inside a courthouse in Istanbul died yesterday after a shootout between the hostage takers and police, officials say. Istanbul's police chief says police negotiated with the gunmen for six hours before the violent end of the hostage situation. The prosecutor, identified by state media as Mehmet Selim Kiraz, was shot in the head during the standoff and rushed to the hospital, where doctors tried to save his life, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says. Kiraz was the prosecutor investigating the death of a teenager who was hit by a police gas canister fired during nationwide anti-government protests in 2013.
A website close to the left-wing DHKP-C group said that militants from the banned organization had taken the prosecutor hostage at midday and had given authorities three hours to meet five demands, including forcing policemen held responsible for the teenager's killing to confess to the death. The group also demanded that the policemen be tried by "peoples' courts" and for court officials to drop prosecutions or investigations against people who took part in protests denouncing the boy's death. The DHKP-C, which seeks a socialist state, is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the European Union. (Read more Turkey stories.)