ANKARA – Police on Tuesday arrested two men suspected of plotting a suicide attack, including the man believed to be behind the 1996 killing of a top industrialist, police said.
Dogan news agency quoted the police as announcing the arrests of two members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) in western Aydin province on suspicion of planning suicide bomb attacks.
The two were found in possession of a machine gun, a grenade, explosives and ammunition.
The spokesman named one as Ismail Akkol, believed behind the assassination of Ozdemir Sabanci, the head of one of Turkey’s largest industrial conglomerates.
Sabanci was killed along with his secretary and another colleague in an armed attack on the headquarters of his Sabanci Holding.
The killers fled the country.
Akkol and another man named as Fadik Adiyaman were arrested at a bus station in the town of Soke, Dogan reported.
The pair were reportedly planning to travel to Izmir, Turkey’s third-biggest city and a popular tourist destination on the country’s Aegean coast.
Hurriyet daily reported that Greek police had detained Akkol and three other suspects in February 2014 in Athens.
The paper quoted Greek media as saying at the time Akkol had confessed that weapons found on that occasion were be used in attacks on Turkish territory.
Greek authorities later released Akkol despite Turkey demanding his extradition for his alleged involvement in the Sabanci killing.
Turkish authorities have been on high alert since last summer following a series of attacks attributed to the Islamic State group.
The most recent, in Istanbul on Jan. 12, killed 11 German tourists in the historic Sultanahmet neighborhood, home of the Blue Mosque.
In October, 103 people were killed in double suicide bombings during a pro-Kurdish demonstration outside Ankara’s central station. The attack was the deadliest in Turkey’s history.
Long accused of complacency in the face of radical rebels fighting the Syrian regime, Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government last summer joined the international anti-Islamic State coalition led by the United States.
Ankara has also beefed up its border security to try to stem the flow of foreign fighters heading to join Islamic State ranks in Syria, and stepped up arrests of alleged jihadis that cross into Turkey.