Ankara – October 2, 2023
Turkish authorities have taken into custody 20 individuals with alleged connections to the Kurdish militant organization responsible for the recent suicide bombing of a government building in Ankara. The Interior Minister, Ali Yerlikaya, revealed that over two dozen “operations” were conducted in Istanbul and Kırklareli, a city situated in Turkey’s far north-west, on Monday.
These detentions follow the attack on Turkey’s Interior Ministry, which occurred when two suicide bombers targeted a busy area of the capital, housing numerous government facilities and businesses. One of the assailants detonated an explosive device, while the other was killed by law enforcement officers. Two police officers sustained injuries during the incident.
The PKK, a group that has been involved in a violent insurgency in Turkey for many years, later acknowledged that they were responsible for the attack. In response, Turkish armed forces launched overnight air raids on 20 PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group is known to operate.
Among those detained are a provincial spokesperson and district presidents affiliated with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), according to Yerlikaya. The Turkish government, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, asserts that the HDP serves as the political wing of the PKK and has imprisoned thousands of its supporters. The HDP, Turkey’s third-largest political party, vehemently denies any ties to the PKK.
The suicide bombing in Ankara coincided with the reopening of Turkey’s parliament following its summer recess. In an address to legislators on Sunday, Erdoğan condemned the attack as “the last stand of terrorism,” vowing that the perpetrators would not achieve their objectives.
The “Immortals Battalion,” a unit of the PKK, claimed responsibility for the attack. Turkish authorities later confirmed that at least one of the attackers had affiliations with the PKK.
Security was heightened in downtown Ankara following the attack, with law enforcement officers patrolling the area, some armed with rifles and riot shields. The entrance to the parliament building was fortified with heavily armored vehicles, and surveillance helicopters patrolled overhead.
The Turkish government, known for its stringent control over the press and social media, imposed reporting restrictions on local media outlets and cautioned against the spread of disinformation.
International allies expressed solidarity with Turkey, with Charles Michel, European Council President, and British Ambassador Jill Morris condemning the attack and terrorism in all forms. The U.S. Embassy also denounced the attack on a NATO ally and expressed its support for Turkey in its fight against terrorism. This incident marks the latest episode in Turkey’s ongoing struggle against various terrorist organizations, including the PKK, ISIS, and other extremist groups. It is a somber reminder of the security challenges that the country faces as it strives to maintain stability and peace.