Erdoğan calls for unity after deadly PKK attack
AA photoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Dec. 17 for all Turkish citizens to unite against terror and put aside fights as the country was hit by a deadly terror attack, a week after twin bombings in Istanbul.
“It is the day for Turkey to be together and not the day to fight,” said Erdoğan, speaking after the bombing that struck the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri on Dec. 17, killing 14 off-duty soldiers and wounding 56 people when it targeted a public bus carrying the military personnel.
Erdoğan said Turkey “is under the common attack of terror organizations” and that the “secessionist terror organization” – the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – was using all of its resources. The PKK is trying to block Turkey and divert its “power and energy” in other directions.
He also said the attacks could not be separated from the developments in the region, “especially the developments in Syria and Iraq.”
The attack, which came exactly a week after twin bombings carried out by an offshoot of the PKK that killed 44 people, including civilians, in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district, was carried out by a militant who is suspected of being a member of the PKK.
The identity of the militant was also determined to be an individual holding a fake ID with name of Mehmet Oluk and with the code names “Çektar” and “Botan.”
The perpetrator allegedly first hit the bus carrying soldiers and then detonated the explosives loaded into his vehicle.
When the crash occurred, the bus was stopped near the Erciyes University campus to drop off two soldiers.
The car used in the bomb had tracked the bus for around five kilometers before the bomber struck.
Some of the survivors said some of the soldiers on the bus had realized that they were being followed by the car.
According to initial police reports, the attack was staged with explosive weighing 150 to 200 kilograms.
The victims of the attack were identified as Yunus Emre Duran, Abdulsamet Özen, Kamil Tunç, Hasan İlhan, Kenan Döngel, Mustafa Cihan, Fehmi Barçın, Raşit Yücel, Ahmet Taş, Muhammet Ali Ocak, Göksel Ağaçyetiştiren, Uğur Korkmaz, Arif Tuğ and Serdar Amak.
The soldiers were heading from their command located in the Talas district of Kayseri to downtown Kayseri to spend their off-day when the attack occurred.
Soldiers at the base had reportedly recently returned from operations against the PKK in the southeastern province of Şırnak and the eastern province of Hakkari.
Meanwhile, a total of 15 suspects were detained due to their alleged links to the attack.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş on Dec. 17 said the materials used in the attack were similar to those used in the Beşiktaş attack a week before.
Speaking to journalists on Dec. 17, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the attacks came upon the instructions of the organization’s leaders who are abroad who, he claimed, had adopted a strategy of “sacrifice attacks” for militants in Turkey, asking them to carry out attacks without waiting for approval from the headquarters.
Opposition party leaders also urged the people to unite in the face of the attacks, with main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu saying “the terrorists” were trying to produce attrition in society, create chaos and incite hostilities among the people.
“Nobody should come to this game. Nobody should benefit from terror,” said Kılıçdaroğlu. He also called Yıldrım after the attack and conveyed his condolences. Kılıçdaroğlu also vowed to give support to the government in the fight against terror.
Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also made a statement after the attack, saying it was the state’s duty to punish who support terror and that it was time to stand in solidarity.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, also condemned the attack “in the most vehement way” and said they feel a deep sorrow due to the “swirl of violence” that Turkey was being drawn into.