Explosion began when one of attackers exited car and threw small explosive at ministry building to distract security
Members of Turkish Police Special Forces secure the area near the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, on October 1, 2023. — AFP
ANKARA: Two officers were Sunday injured in a blast outside the Turkish interior ministry hours before the parliament was due to reconvene. The interior ministry termed the incident a “terrorist attack”.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said two attackers arrived in a car at around 09:30 (06:30 GMT) and carried out the attack injuring two officers.
He said an attacker blew himself up in front of a ministry building and another was “neutralised”.
The explosion on Ataturk Boulevard began when one of the attackers exited the car and threw a small explosive at the ministry building to distract security. The second attacker then opened fire at the guards by the ministry gate, before setting off a bomb strapped to him which resulted in his death.
The first person, meanwhile, ran into the compound and was immediately shot dead by the police.
Two officers were injured. One was shot in the chest and another suffered injuries in both legs and an eye.
Yerlikaya told reporters that none of the injuries were life-threatening.
A senior Turkish security official told BBC that the attackers hijacked their vehicle on Saturday in Kayseri, a city some 260 kms south-east of Ankara. They reportedly shot dead the car driver, a 24-year-old veterinarian who was driving in the countryside.
The official said footages from security cameras from Kayseri to the Syrian border were being reviewed to determine where the suspects came from.
In his speech opening parliament, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the attack as “the final flutters of terrorism”.
“The vile people who took aim at the peace and security of our citizens did not reach their goal and they never will.”
Kurdish militants have come under intense pressure by the authorities, who have jailed their leaders and conducted military operations against Kurdish bases inside Turkey and across the border in Syria and Iraq.
Sunday’s bomb was the first in Ankara since 2016, when a spate of deadly attacks gripped the country. The last attack in the capital was in March 2016 -- it was the fifth in the Turkish capital in a year.
The last major attack in Turkey was in November last year, when a bomb in a busy street in Istanbul killed six people.
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), listed as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Sunday that injured two people. “A sacrificial action was carried out against the Turkish Interior Ministry by a team from our Immortal Brigade,” the PKK told the ANF news agency, which is close to the Kurdish movement.
Meanwhile, Pakistan strongly condemned the terrorist attack and said it stood resolutely with Türkiye in its fight against terrorism.
“We are confident that with their characteristic grit and determination, the Turkish nation will defeat this menace and emerge ever stronger,” said the Foreign Office in a statement.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar strongly condemned the dastardly terrorist attack in Ankara and expressed solidarity with Turkiye.
On his X handle, the prime minister said, “We stand in complete solidarity with our Turkish brothers and sisters in the fight against the scourge of terrorism. I have no doubt that under the dynamic leadership of my brother (President Recep Tayyip Erdogan), the resolute Turkish nation will emerge ever stronger from this challenge.”
Separately, in a press release shared by the PM Office Media Wing, the prime minister extended sympathies of the Pakistani nation to the people of brotherly country Turkiye. He also prayed for an early recovery of the injured.
Former prime minister and PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif Sunday expressed his solidarity with the government and people of Turkey on behalf of the people of Pakistan.
In a tweet posted on X, Shehbaz wrote, “I strongly condemn the terrorist attack near the Turkish Parliament in Ankara. Our prayers are with the injured police officers for a swift recovery and the safety of our Turkish brothers and sisters. The people of Pakistan express unwavering solidarity with the citizens and government of Turkiye.”