Gunmen today killed a former U.S. Air Force officer working for an American company in Turkey, police said. A Marxist terrorist group claimed responsibility.
It was the third time in two months the group - Dev Sol, or Revolutionary Left - said it was behind armed attacks on Americans. In the other assaults, a U.S. military employee was killed and a U.S. Air Force officer was wounded. Dev Sol also claimed responsibility for recent bombings in protest of the allied role in the Gulf War and "Western imperialism."
Quoting witnesses, police said a man in police uniform and two others entered a building housing Vinnell Brown Root Co., overpowered several employees and shot to death the director.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Ankara identified him as John Gandy, 52. She said he was a retired chief master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and had worked in Turkey for the past three years. He was married, she said.
The spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said information about his hometown was not available.
Police quoted witnesses as saying four assailants were involved.
They said the assassins tied up two Vinnell Brown employees and moved them to a different room before entering Gandy's office and murdering him with a pistol equipped with a silencer.
The gunmen then fled, leaving behind a written statement signed Dev Sol, the witnesses told police.
"We are sending (President) Bush, along with (Turkish President Turgut) Ozal another Johnny," said the statement. Johnny is the nickname some Turks give Americans; Gandy's name coincidentally was John.
Last month, the group shot and killed another Vinnell Brown employee, Bobbie Eugene Mozelle of Detroit, who worked as a civilian at the Incerlik joint U.S.-Turkish air base in southern Turkey.
Vinnell Brown, based in Fairfax, Va., provides administrative and support services such as cleaning for U.S. military installations in Turkey.
Today's slaying coincided with a trip to the United States by Ozal, who was a staunch U.S. ally during the Persian Gulf War. Ozal will meet with Bush at Camp David over the weekend.
During the Gulf War, Turkey allowed U.S. warplanes to use the Incirlik base to carry out bombing raids against Iraq. Before the war, Turkey shut off pipelines that carried Iraqi oil, in compliance with a United Nations economic embargo.
Dev Sol also claimed responsibility for the wounding of U.S. Lt. Col. Alvin Macke, 44, on Feb. 28. He worked at NATO Land Southeast Command in Izmir.
The group said it was behind more than a dozen bombings in recent weeks, including 10 blasts on Saturday hours before the arrival of Secretary of State James A. Baker III.
The explosions occurred in three cities and most were at offices belonging to Western companies or institutions.