Militants take Turkish prosecutor hostage..

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Zeynep Tufekci @zeynep · 18m Oh, gee. Istanbul hostage takers are live-tweeting it all themselves, with Twitter videos with their demands—prosecutor held at gunpoint.

View media item 1470283

View media item 1470285



Members of a banned leftist group took a chief prosecutor hostage in his office inside a courthouse in Istanbul, Turkish news agencies and the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The Private Dogan news agency said some shots were fired inside the building. The state-run Andalou news agency and state television TRT named the prosecutor as Mehmet Selim Kiraz.

Two gunshots were heard as security forces tried to gain access to the office, on the sixth floor of the building, Andalou reported. The agency said it is not known if anyone was injured.

Police said negotiators were speaking to two militants in attempts to end the standoff, the AP said.

"There is no problem concerning any of our colleagues. Our negotiators and Umit Kocasakal, the head of the Istanbul Bar Association, are talking to the militants," Istanbul Police Chief Selami Altunok said, according to the agency.

He added: "We are trying to resolve the issue without anyone being hurt."

Kiraz is investigating the death of teenager Berkin Elvan, who was critically injured when he was hit by a police gas canister fired during nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, Andalou reported.

A website close to the banned DHKP-C group said that militants from the organization took the prosecutor hostage at midday and gave authorities three hours to meet five demands, including forcing policemen held responsible for Elvan's killing to confess, the AP reported.

The Andalou agency describes the DHKP-C as a Marxist-Leninist party founded in 1978, which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

The standoff came as large parts of Turkey were hit by a massive power outage.

More than 40 provinces as well as metro lines and traffic lights are reported to have been affected by the blackout, which happened at 10:36 a.m. local time Tuesday.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that all possible causes were being investigated, including terrorism, Anadolu reported.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the cause of the outage is unknown, and that he could not say if a cyberattack was behind it, according to the agency.

At around 4.30 p.m. local time, Yildiz said about 90% of power was restored to Istanbul, the country's largest city, Andalou reported. "Crowded places such as metro stations have been given electricity and we believe the rest of the country should be fully powered shortly," he said, according to the agency.
 
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