2008 United States consulate in Istanbul attack

2008 United States consulate in Istanbul attack

U.S. Consulate in Istanbul
Location Consulate of America, Istanbul, Turkey
Date July 9, 2008
11:00 local time. (0800 GMT) – 11:15 local time. (0815 GMT)
Target American consulate
Attack type
Gunfire at the US Consulate
Deaths 6[1]
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrators
Al-Qaeda alleged[2]

In the morning hours on July 9, 2008, an attack on the Consulate General of the United States, Istanbul resulted in the deaths of the three gunmen and three Turkish National Police officers.

The attack occurred at a time when the facility was at full function. It is the responsibility of the host state to take care of security as per Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.[3]

The attack

All three of the attackers were Turkish nationals, and ethnic Kurds. Armed with pistols and shotguns, the attackers arrived in a car and then got out. One of them quickly opened fire near the main entrance to the compound. Footage from a security camera at the site showed, as the shootout was unfolding, three armed and bearded men emerging from a Ford Focus being used as an unlicensed taxicab, killing a traffic policeman, then running toward a guard post some 50 yards away as other policemen fired back.[4] The vehicle left the scene, but its driver later turned himself in to the authorities; he had no prior connection to the attackers. There were no casualties in the attack apart from the three attackers and three police officers.[1][5]

Two of the slain police officers were identified as Erdal Oztas, 28, from the village of Karahacik located in Corum Province, and Nedim Calik.[6]

The NTV television network and Doğan News Agency identified the attackers as Erkan Kargın, 26, and Raif Topçıl, 20, both from the southeastern city of Bitlis and Bülent Çınar, 23, from the eastern city of Iğdır. Police did not confirm their identities, but Interior Minister Besir Atalay said two of the assailants had criminal records.[2] It was suggested that a shotgun used by Erkan Kargın and two Glock automatic pistols were purchased with a 4,000 YTL loan, withdrawn from the Istanbul branch of a bank, by Kadir Özmen. Özmen had originally planned to attend the attack, but this plan was abandoned. A 24-page indictment, prepared by the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office Deputy Fikret Seçen, charged Özmen with membership of an armed terrorist organization, possession of explosives and membership in the alleged Ergenekon organization, which meant being charged with attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey. A decision to arrest him was made, however as his ID number could not be determined, the prosecutor’s office closed the investigation.[7]

In response to the attack, the US temporarily increased security at all of its Turkish diplomatic missions.[8]

The unsuccessful attack showed that the (new) consulate grounds were safe for the American diplomatic staff. The project management for the land acquisition and the construction of the consulate building was headed by Gary S. Lachman while he was working as the New Embassy and Consulate Team Leader at the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations at the U.S. Department of State.

Prior attacks

In 2003 al-Qaeda had once again been claimed to be the perpetrators of the attack on the British consulate. Although the comparison is slight, it bears relevance in Turkey's burgeoning image as a target for terrorists.

International reaction

Wikinews has related news: Six dead, including assailants, in attack on U.S. Consulate in Istanbul

Allegations of al-Qaeda involvement

Turkish officials initially blamed al-Qaeda,[2] and the US did not rule out al-Qaeda support.[11] However, the attackers had no direct connection to any transnational or indigenous terrorist group, other than possible training ties.

On July 13, 2008, one suspect was arrested and charged with membership in a terror organization in connection to the attack on the consulate. Another two individuals were also charged and released pending trials. In all, twelve individuals have been detained for questioning related to the attacks.[12]

In December 2008, two suspected al-Qaeda members were charged over the consulate attack.[13]

See also


Coordinates: 41°07′02″N 29°02′49″E / 41.117274°N 29.046867°E / 41.117274; 29.046867

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