Turkey – Turkey has partially closed its two remaining border crossings with Syria amid fears of a possible terrorist attack it was reported on the 30 Mar 15. The Oncupinar and Cilvegozu border gates in Hatay Province were initially closed on the 9 Mar 15 after clashes in northern Syria. While aid trucks have since been allowed to cross the border, individuals have not. An anonymous intelligence official told the New York Times that the decision to close the crossings was based on “solid intelligence about a large-scale terrorist attack”. Eleven other Turkish crossing points have shut over the past four years, as Syria’s intractable civil war has intensified. Before the partial closures, a border official estimated that up to 1,500 people travelled from Syria by way of the Bab al-Salameh crossing each day. Turkey’s porous 560-mile border with Syria remains a key entry point for foreign fighters flocking to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s self-declared caliphate. It is also the site of a flourishing black market that pours money into the pockets of rebel groups of varying ideological stripes.
Turkish security forces carried out an operation to rescue a prosecutor held captive at an Istanbul courthouse, killing the two hostage-takers it was reported on the 31 Mar 15. Selami Altiok, the city's police chief said the 31 Mar that the attackers had been shot dead and that prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was critically wounded during the operation. Kiraz later died at the hospital. Mehmet Selim Kiraz was investigating the killing of Berkin Elvan, who died in March last year after spending 269 days in a coma due to injuries inflicted by police in the mass protests of early summer 2013. The hostage-takers, who belonged to the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C), an outlawed leftist terrorist group, had announced a list of demands for the release of the prosecutor, saying that the officer who shot Elvan must appear on TV and confess his guilt. Turkish media earlier had showed photos of an armed man holding a gun to the prosecutor's head while his hands were tied. The hostage-takers threatened to kill Kiraz if the officer who shot Elvan was not arrested, setting a deadline of three hours for their demands to be met, according to a statement on the group's website. Another demand was that the rights of those who attended rallies in solidarity with the Elvan family must be reinstated and that the prosecutions against them should be abolished. The group also demanded a safe exit of the armed men behind the hostage-taking. The DHKP-C is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and US. It said it carried out a suicide bombing in February 2013 at the US embassy in Ankara, where a security guard was killed.