Man arrested after grenades were thrown and weapons fired at Turkish President Erdogan's office in Istanbul

 

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The Independent Online

A man allegedly carrying a semi-automatic weapon has been arrested at the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office in Istanbul, after a weapon was fired and homemade bombs were thrown at the lavish building's security booth.

The bomb which was thrown failed to explode in front of the offices at the Dolmabahce Palace in central Istanbul, which  was once the residence of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The man, believed to be in his thirties, was armed with a small weapon and an assault rifle. Officers on the scene subdued and arrested the man, and destroyed two unexploded grenades, Istanbul Police Chief Selami Altinok told the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Police named the suspect only as Firat O. Following his arrest, he underwent a medical checkup, before being taken to the Istanbul police’s anti-terrorism branch.

It was not immediately clear if Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was in the palace at the time, although both he and his predecessor, current President Tayyip Erdogan, have used the office there regularly.

Mr Altinok said the assailant had served time in prison between 2003 an 2006, and had links to what he described as terrorist organisations, without elaborating, Dogan News Agency reported.

He said: “The individual's identity and affiliation is obvious to us. e has spent time in prison.”

In the past, Kurdish insurgents, nationalist, Islamist and left wing groups have targeted security forces in Turkey.

Additional reporting by PA and Reuters