US embassy bomber spent five years in jail on terror charges

Ecevit Sanli was released after being diagnosed with a brain disorder sustained during a prison hunger strike

The man who blew himself up outside America's embassy in Ankara yesterday, killing himself and a Turkish security guard, spent five years in prison on terrorism charges, officials revealed today.

Ecevit Sanli, 40, was released on probation after being diagnosed with a brain disorder incurred during a hunger strike.

He used TNT and detonated a hand grenade in the attack, it was confirmed.

Sanli was a member of the outlawed leftist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, which has claimed responsibility for assassinations and bombings since the 1970s but has been relatively quiet in recent years.

The motives for yesterday's attack remain unclear, but today a statement from the group was posted online, claiming responsibility for the attack.

It read: "Our warrior Alisan Sanli carried out an act of self-sacrifice on Feb 1, 2013, by entering the Ankara embassy of the United States, murderer of the people of the world."

Officials said Sanli was arrested in 1997 for alleged involvement in attacks on police headquarters and a military guesthouse in Istanbul and jailed, facing charges for his DHKP-C membership.

According to the Ankara governor's office he took part in a major hunger strike while in prison, opposing a maximum-security system in which prisoners were held in small cells instead of large wards.

The strike killed dozens of inmates.

Sanli was released in 2002 after being diagnosed with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a malnutrition-related brain illness that affects vision, muscle coordination and memory and that can cause hallucinations. Once released, he fled Turkey and was wanted by Turkish authorities, the statement said. He returned to the country using a fake ID, though it is not known when.

The Ankara governor's office, citing the findings of a bomb squad that inspected the site, said Sanli had used 6 kilograms of TNT for the suicide attack and also detonated a hand grenade.

The guard who was killed was standing outside the embassy checkpoint. A Turkish TV journalist was seriously wounded and two other guards had lighter wounds.

The attack drew quick condemnation from Turkey, the US, Britain and other nations, and officials from both Turkey and the US pledged to work together to fight terrorism.

It was the second deadly assault on a US diplomatic post in five months. On September 11, 2012, terrorists attacked a US mission in Benghazi, Libya, killing US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The attackers in Libya were suspected to have ties to Islamist extremists, and one is in custody in Egypt.

US diplomatic facilities in Turkey have been targeted previously by terrorists. In 2008, an attack blamed on al-Qaida-affiliated militants outside the US Consulate in Istanbul left three assailants and three policemen dead.

The U.S. flag was flying at half-mast today at the embassy, where security has been increased.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
News
Andy Murray shakes hands after defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy in the third round of Wimbledon, Saturday 4 July, 2015
Wimbledon
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
News
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
News
Could Greece leave the EU?
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'