Turkey’s Interior Ministry has sent a letter to governor’s offices and security units across the country, temporarily suspending the sale of fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate to prevent access by militant groups to the substance commonly used in building explosives.
The Agriculture Ministry temporarily banned sales of fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate after car bomb attacks hit the country’s largest city as well as a town in the southeastern province of Mardin on two consecutive days, Turkish daily Habertürk has reported.
According to the report, militant groups could easily obtain the material despite a number of security measures adopted to prevent the use of fertilizers for hostile purposes. These precautions included a ban on retail fertilizers with at least 28 percent ammonium nitrate unpacked, randomly installing tracking chips in some fertilizer packs and requiring distributorship documents from retailers.
However, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government will work to introduce additional measures as the current precautions seem insufficient in the face of increasing terror attacks conducted with the usage of ammonium nitrate.
The report suggested one in every 200 to 300 packs would include tracking chips and be monitored through the farmer register system. Accordingly, unmanned aerial vehicles will also be used to increase monitoring and companies which import fertilizers will be controlled more strictly.
Another alternative is for the state to assert complete control over the market, including domestic production and imports.
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders, also commonly used in building bombs, will be the next step of the safety measures, Habertürk claimed.
Two police officers and three civilians were killed and around 30 others were wounded in a large car bomb attack that hit the police headquarters in Mardin’s Midyat district on June 8.
The attack came just a day after 11 people were killed in a car bomb targeting a police vehicle in Istanbul’s Vezneciler neighborhood on June 7.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on June 8 that both attacks were organized by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK), although no information has yet been released on the identity of the attackers.