Police have arrested five out of 14 people detained in four provinces on suspicion that they were planning to assassinate Devlet Bahçeli, leader of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The police operation targeted a terrorist organization called the Turkish Revenge Union Organization/Resistance Movement. The detentions occurred in Adana, Ankara, Kocaeli and Hakkari on Friday, and five out of the 14 detainees were later sent to jail on Wednesday pending trial. The other nine will appear in court, where it will be decided whether they should be sent to jail or set free pending trial. The five suspects who were arrested by the court are accused of membership in a terrorist organization.
During operations that were carried out against the gang over the weekend, the police found an AK-47 rifle, two pistols and ammunition in the suspects’ homes, and the suspects also confessed to plans to assassinate Bahçeli, news reports said.
The alleged leader of the gang, S.G., was reportedly introducing himself to people as a senior military officer. Police also seized a military uniform during raids on locations belonging to the organization. S.G., who was detained in Ankara, was reportedly in touch with some senior military officers.
Police say the organization was planning to incite Turkish-Kurdish tension by assassinating Bahçeli as well as prominent Kurdish figures and officials from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The organization was also reportedly planning to provoke families of soldiers killed by the PKK during the soldiers’ funerals by playing to nationalist sentiments. Members of the group have already participated in some past funerals and were responsible for the stoning of several BDP buildings during these funerals, police say.
The group was also allegedly planning to stage attacks on religious minority groups to incite chaos in the country. According to police, members of the gang were communicating with encrypted messages with each other and used codenames.