Top Stories


    Feb 19, 2016

    Turkey attacks militant bases after suicide bombing


    TURKEY has identified the suicide bomber who killed at least 28 people on Wednesday evening in central Ankara as a Syrian linked to Kurdish militants while Kurdish parties in the region have denied responsibility.

    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said yesterday that the attack was carried out by operatives of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in cooperation with the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Agence France-Presse reported.

    The PKK is a left-wing militant organisation based in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan while the YPG is based in Syria.

    The massive car-bomb attack in Ankara struck five buses carrying military-service personnel which had stopped at a red traffic light.

    The victims comprised military men and civilians, said local Bugun newspaper, adding that another 61 people were wounded.

    The explosion, which took place at the administrative heart of Turkey, was the latest in a string of deadly attacks that have rocked the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) member country since last summer.

    The United States, the European Union and Nato strongly condemned the incident.

    "The attack was carried out by the PKK together with a person who sneaked into Turkey from Syria," said Mr Davutoglu yesterday, identifying the bomber as a Syrian national named Salih Necar.

    Mr Davutoglu also said nine people had been detained over the attack and stressed that Turkey would retaliate.

    The YPG and its political wing Democratic Union Party yesterday denied they were PKK branches and argued that they have no interest in attacking Turkey.

    The PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency against Turkey to seek independence or greater autonomy for the country's biggest ethnic minority, also said that it did not know who was responsible.

    Within hours of the Ankara attack, Turkish warplanes bombed PKK bases in northern Iraq.

    Meanwhile, YPG positions in northern Syria have been attacked by Turkey for days as Ankara tries to stop the Kurdish party from taking the town of Azaz near the Turkish frontier.

    The YPG militia has in recent weeks taken advantage of a major offensive by the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad around Aleppo to seize ground near the Turkish border from Syrian rebels, reported Reuters.

    That has alarmed Turkey which fears the advances will stoke Kurdish separatist ambitions at home.