At least 28 killed in car bomb attack in Turkish capital Ankara
At least 28 people were killed and 61 others were injured in a bomb attack on Feb. 17 targeting shuttles carrying military personnel in the Turkish capital Ankara.
The Turkish General staff announced on Feb. 18 that 30 of the injured were discharged from hospitals while the other 31 were in fair condition, continuing to receive treatment in various hospitals.
Turkey will use its legitimate right to defend itself always and everywhere, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a statement.
“Our determination to retaliate to these attacks that target our unity and our future, in Turkey and abroad, are increasing with such actions,” he said.
“Turkey’s losses in its struggle against terrorism are challenging its patience,” he added, stressing that Turkey would overcome the attacks.
Turkey will continue its struggle against “these pawns and powers behind them, every day, with determination,” he said.
Erdoğan has canceled a visit to Azerbaijan scheduled for Feb. 18, while Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was scheduled to leave for Brussels later on Feb. 17, also canceled his visit.
The attack occurred in the center of the city, just a few hundred meters away from the top military headquarters, parliament and prime minister’s office.
It happened at a time when a high-level security meeting was being held at the Presidential Palace under the chairmanship of Erdoğan.
“We will never step back from our righteous struggle against all terror organizations,” said Davutoğlu in a written statement, following the security summit.
“The state of the Turkish Republic will keep defending humanitarian values that will primarily protect its national security in the name of all without digressing from the line of law and justice and without compromising to terror and violence,” he said.
The leaders of the three opposition parties in parliament condemned the attacks.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said the attack was carried out with a car bomb.
“We are facing simultaneous terror attacks, as if they were controlled by the same people, trying to intimidate Turkey,” Kurtulmuş told reporters.
“We do not yet know the perpetrators of this attack,” the deputy prime minister said, adding that seven prosecutors had been assigned to the case and those behind the attack would be found out as soon as possible.
“This attack did not only target our military personnel in those shuttles,” Kurtulmuş said.
“This attack openly targets out entire nation. We condemn those who carried out this attack, those who used the perpetrators as tools, and those who gave logistical, intelligence and even political support to such attacks,” he said.
Kurtulmuş called on the international community to stand by Turkey.
“I want everybody to know that some plain condemnations no more satisfy Turkey. Whatever they do, the terrorist organizations and the powers behind them will not be able to reach their targets,” he said.
Most of the injured are in fair condition, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said.
“Terror has attacked treacherously in Ankara. We curse this attack,” ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Ömer Çelik said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Turkish General Staff also strongly condemned the attack in a statement, saying there were military personnel among the casualties.
“Deeply saddened, shocked by terror attack in Ankara. Our hearts and prayers go out to those who are affected,” said U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass said in a tweet.
The British Ambassador to Turkey, Richard Moore, also extended his condolences via Twitter, giving solidarity messages.
“U.K. stands shoulder to shoulder with Turkey at this difficult time. Utterly condemn terrorism,” Moore tweeted.
The capital was already on alert after two suicide bombers killed 101 people on Oct. 10, 2015, during a demonstration of peace activists near Ankara’s main train station, the bloodiest terror attack in the country’s modern history.