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    ’Police didn’t act in professional manner’

    Hürriyet Daily News
    29.04.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - Media and security experts have criticized the Istanbul police for failing to take the necessary precautions during Monday's anti-terror operation, which left three dead, including the suspected militant targeted by the raid, and nine injured. The raid on an apartment building in Istanbul’s Bostancı neighborhood turned into a six-hour shootout. A 16-year-old bystander was one of the three casualties.

    Raids were conducted in 60 areas overnight against suspected militants from a far-left organization called the "Revolutionary Headquarters" that is suspected of planning to carry out "sensational attacks," officials say.

    Menwhile, the organization whose hideout was raided in a deadly police operation Monday has links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, the governor of Istanbul said yesterday. "The Revolutionary Headquarters is engaged in cooperation with the PKK on education and targets," Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler told reporters at a joint news conference with the city’s police chief, Celalettin Cerrah.

    Fourteen members of the Revolutionary Headquarters were detained in the simultaneous raids, he said, adding that police also detained 26 others with alleged links to al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. Hailing the operation as successful, Güler said the press was criticizing it unfairly.

    Problems with planning

    The casualties have raised questions regarding the planning of the operation, with media and security experts criticizing the security forces. Officials have responded by accusing media outlets of engaging in a "speed race" with their competitors. "The deaths of a high-level police officer and an onlooker, and the injuries to seven police officers, are indicators that there was not sufficient information prior to the operation," a security expert told Hürriyet. "In such operations, the first thing to do is to secure the nearby area. But TV footage shows this precaution was not taken until after the operation started."

    The operation was not planned or managed well, a former member of the Special Operations Unit, Recai Birgün, told daily Milliyet. "The security cordon was too close. No civilians should be allowed to cross the cordon," he said.

    Authorities, however, did not accept the criticism and defended the security forces’ methods in conducting the operation.
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