Turkey announced that it launched airstrikes on militant targets in northern Iraq and carried out arrests in Istanbul, following a bomb attack in Ankara claimed by Kurdish militants.
On Sunday morning, two attackers set off a bomb near government buildings in Ankara, resulting in their deaths and injuring two police officers. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility.
Turkey's government stated that two terrorists carried out a bomb attack in front of the Interior Ministry buildings in Ankara, adding one of them died in the explosion and the other was… pic.twitter.com/qKfZncQIaK
— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) October 1, 2023
According to the defense ministry, many militants were “neutralized,” often meaning killed, in airstrikes that targeted 20 locations, including caves, shelters, and depots used by the PKK in Iraq’s Metina, Hakurk, Qandil, and Gara regions.
Turkey has intensified its military efforts against the PKK in northern Iraq in recent years, citing self-defense rights under Article 51 of the United Nations charter.
The PKK is labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union. The group initiated an insurgency in southeast Turkey in 1984, resulting in over 40,000 casualties in the conflict.
CCTV footage obtained by Reuters showed a vehicle pulling up to the interior ministry’s main gate in Ankara, with one occupant quickly approaching the building before being caught in an explosion.
The blast, which coincided with the reopening of the assembly, claimed one attacker’s life, while security forces dealt with the other. The interior ministry reported that the attackers had hijacked the vehicle, killing its driver in Kayseri, a city 260km (161 miles) southeast of Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at reopening of parliament:
– Türkiye has made great progress in terms of development
– We no longer live in a country where parliament shut down and coups implemented
– Our new duty is to make sure that we have a new civilian constitution pic.twitter.com/y4TqFt14I3
— TRT World (@trtworld) October 1, 2023
Following the incident, counter-terrorism police detained 20 individuals suspected of having links to the PKK in raids in Istanbul and other locations, said Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya.
Among those detained were a provincial Kurdish spokesperson and district leaders of a major pro-Kurdish political party. They are suspected of collecting aid and providing shelter for PKK members.
The PKK-linked ANF News website quoted the militant group as claiming responsibility for the attack through a statement on Sunday.
This bombing on Ataturk Boulevard was the first in Ankara since 2016, when there was a series of attacks in Turkish cities attributed to Kurdish militants, ISIS, and other groups.
In recent years, the Turkish armed forces have conducted numerous large-scale military operations in northern Iraq and northern Syria against Kurdish militants.
BTÖ’YE YÖNELİK İSTANBUL VE KIRKLARELİ’NDE 2️⃣6️⃣ FARKLI ADRESE DÜZENLENEN OPERASYONLARDA 2️⃣0️⃣ ŞAHIS GÖZALTINA ALINDI❗️
TERÖRİSTLERİN VE ONLARIN İŞ BİRLİKÇİLERİNİN NEFESLERİNİ KESECEĞİZ❗️
İstanbul Terörle Mücadele Şube Müdürlüğümüzce, Bölücü Terör Örgütünün faaliyetlerinin deşifre… pic.twitter.com/XPxKoXuQZw
— Ali Yerlikaya (@AliYerlikaya) October 2, 2023
President Tayyip Erdogan stated on Sunday that Turkey would maintain a strategy involving a 30-km (19-mile) deep “security strip” beyond its southern borders with Syria and Iraq, and indicated that “new steps” in this direction were on the horizon. When asked about this, Defence Minister Yasar Guler stated that the president hadn’t introduced any “new” information.