July 1, 2005

Turk police shoot dead suspected suicide bomber

By Mustafa Yukselbaba

ANKARA (Reuters) - Police shot dead a suspected suicidebomber at Turkey's Justice Ministry on Friday after heapparently tried to set off an explosive device.

Turkish television showed live footage of police shootingat the man, said to be between 25 and 30 years old, in a streetin the leafy government district of the capital Ankara. AReuters correspondent saw the man lying dead in a pool ofblood.

Witnesses said the man had tried to enter the ministry,near Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office, at around 9:15a.m. (0615 GMT) but triggered the security sensors.

Police grabbed him after he apparently set off a detonatorbut failed to explode his main device. He escaped into thestreet where police shot him first in the leg and then in thehead, the witnesses said.

Police gave no immediate confirmation of the details butthey gave the bomber's name as Eyup Beyaz and said he was knownto be a member of Turkey's largest far-left faction, theRevolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

Earlier, Turkish television had given the man's name asMuharrem Akyurt from documents found on his body.

Two bomb disposal experts in protective clothing examinedthe man's corpse after police cordoned off the area.

Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, clearly anxious to avertpossible criticism from the European Union that Turkish policeare trigger-happy, said they had to shoot the man because hehad a bomb on him.

"The security forces first fired warning shots, but becausethe aggressor continued to run toward a crowded bus station,they had to shoot him," Cicek said in televised remarks.

"Turkey will continue to improve its human rights anddemocracy," he added.

Turkey is due to start EU entry talks in October. The EUhas expressed concern in the past over police brutality inTurkey.

Turkey has a long history of bombings mounted by a widerange of groups, from leftists to Islamists and Kurdishseparatists, although suicide attacks are rare.

Four devastating suicide bomb attacks claimed by a grouplinked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network killed more than60 people in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul in November2003.

Dozens of people are now being tried for involvement inthose bombings, which struck Jewish and British targets.