Long before al-Qaida, when the Cold War gripped the world, Leftist terrorists staged spectacular attacks in a doomed campaign to overthrow governments and impose their vision of a socialist utopia. The bulk of these extremist groups eventually drifted into oblivion, gutted by police pressure, internal rifts and an ideology undercut by communism's fall.
In Turkey, one cult-like group didn't get the memo.
Decades on, a band of outlaws wedded to this antique brand of militancy has been blamed for a suicide bombing at the US Embassy in Ankara that also killed a Turkish guard and wounded a television journalist, the latest in a sequence of bombings and assassinations that failed, over and over, to bring the triggermen closer to revolutionary goals.
Some analysts have speculated that the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, carried out Friday's attack in anger at NATO member Turkey's cooperation with the US, the old "imperialist" nemesis of leftist radicals, in efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. The consensus is that the group is a throwback, deaf to historical shifts and political nuance, almost a novelty if it weren't so deadly.
Howard Eissenstat, a Turkey expert in the US, said the group is trapped in an "ideological time warp" and falls "outside of our comfortable narratives."