Ankara Bombing: Attacker’s Identity Revealed

*Source: medyascope.com ©

Ankara Bombing: Attacker’s Identity Revealed

In the latest development concerning the recent Ankara bombing, today The Ministry of Interior Affairs released the identity of one of the perpetrators of the attack. The twenty-three year old perpetrator Seher Çağla Demir was from the Northeastern province of Kars and was identified as a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

According to the Ministry’s statement, Demir had been a member of the PKK since 2013 and travelled to Syria to receive training under the leadership of the YPG, PKK’s Syrian wing. The Ministry also revealed that the investigation was ongoing and looking into the possibility of a female accomplice in the attack.

The Turkish government has been combating the PKK in the country’s east since the ceasefire between the two parties ended this past June. In an effort to combat the armed group, the Turkish government has imposed a series of curfews in cities across the southeast where the PKK and its affiliates have established networks of barricades and trenches portioning off regions under Kurdish self-rule.

The March 13 bombing attack, which occurred in the heavily populated neighborhood of Kizilay in the heart of the capital city killed 37 people and injured some 125 more.

The bombing attack drew strong condemnation from domestic and international spectators alike. Prime Minister Davutoğlu stated: “In the name of my country, my people, and my government, I curse those whose conscience and humanity have been so perverted and destitute as to target these innocent people waiting for the bus. This abominable attack was committed against all of Turkey, in order to attack our peace, our unity, and our democracy.”

President Erdoğan also strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to combatting terrorism, stating “Our citizens should not worry, all of the organs of government are working together to combat terrorism, and they will succeed, terrorism will be brought to heel. Our government will not surrender its right to self-defense by any means.”

The AKP’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu stated “This attack targeting our fellow citizens in the capital of our country must be cursed as a terrorist act without any ‘but’s or ‘however’s.”

Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also took strong against the terrorist attacks, stating “It is telling that this bombing occurred only 3 weeks after the previous Ankara bombing, the possible objects and goals of this action should be analyzed carefully. A terrorist attack will never bring Turkey to heel, and will not cause us to surrender.”

The co-leader of the majority Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş spoke on behalf of his party stating “We share this great pain with all of our people. We want to declare that we will not allow this atrocity committed against our people to divide us or diminish our sense of brotherhood and sisterhood, and we once again strongly condemn this attack.”

The Ankara attack also drew messages of condolences from the international community, including the head’s of state of Russia, the United States, the UK, and France.

In addition to expressions of sadness, many Turkish observers also expressed great anger with the ruling AKP administration for doing little to prevent the attack and similar attacks in the past.

On March 14, the day after the attack, protesters gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim square to release a statement concerning the attacks as well as criticize the ruling administration for their inactivity in preventing the attack. The protest was met by police intervention and the crowd was dispersed with water cannons and tear gas.

The HDP also criticized the ruling administration in addition to expressing their sadness over the attacks. A parliamentary declaration was signed March 15 by the AKP, CHP, and MHP condemning the attacks, but HDP declined from adding their party’s signature to the declaration.

In a statement by HDP deputies Çağlar Demirel and İdris Baluken concerning the party’s decision not to sign the declaration, the deputies argued;

“This declaration is an attempt by the administration to absolve themselves of any guilt. The parliament is a place for solutions. Issuing a statement after the fact, after an attack has occurred is not fulfilling the duties of the parliament. The parliament’s real duty is to research the cause of these attacks and work towards a solution, and not declare themselves without responsibility, this has simply become a hiding tactic for the government and the Palace. Our recommendation to all the parties of the parliament is to create a Solutions Committee in order to fulfill our duties as parliamentarians. Otherwise, a declaration is not the task of the parliament, it’s just a way for the government to absolve itself of its guilt.”

Update: In an online statement, the Turkish militant group TAK has claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks. TAK is known to be an offshoot of the PKK.

Benjamin Bilgen

Bilgen, Benjamin, “Ankara Bombing: Attacker’s Identity Revealed”, Independent Turkey, 17 March 2016, London: Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (Research Turkey). Original link: http://researchturkey.org/?p=11036

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