‘18 incidents, not suicide bomb attacks,’ prevented: Turkish Interior Ministry
AA photoTurkey’s Interior Ministry released a written statement late on Feb. 28, denying a report by state-run Anadolu Agency that quoted Minister Efkan Ala as saying “authorities have prevented 18 suicide bomb attacks since Jan. 1.”
“Such remarks were not been made during the interview,” the statement said. “The words used were ‘18 incidents have been prevented.’”
On Feb. 28, Anadolu Agency reported that Ala said “18 similar incidents have been prevented” when asked a question about the Feb. 17 suicide car bomb attack which killed dozens of people in Ankara.
“As the Interior Ministry, as the entire police department, we told all parties to remain on full alert,” Ala was quoted as saying, noting the continuation of an investigation into why the Feb. 17 attack, which killed 29 and injured scores more, could not be prevented.
“Since the New Year, we prevented 18 similar incidents. Four vehicles like this [loaded with explosives] had been brought and we found three of them. The other day, we found one of them at Boğaziçi [University in Istanbul on Feb. 26] and a person was arrested,” Ala said in a live interview with private Kanal 7 broadcaster, referring to a passenger car loaded with a bomb mechanism but no explosives that was allegedly being prepared for use in a terror attack similar to the recent Ankara suicide bombing.
Officials said the car found at Boğaziçi University was one of the three cars mentioned by Ala.
“Before the New Year, a suicide bomber who wanted to cover the New Year with blood was captured along with a bomb mechanism. We are not able to tell about the majority of those [suicide bomb attacks] we intercepted. It doesn’t need to be told,” Ala said.
The Turkish government blamed the most recent attack in Ankara on the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the militia of Syria’s Democratic Union Party, which it says is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and by extension, the Syrian government.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was blamed for a bomb that killed four people at a rally of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 5, 2015. An ISIL militant also killed 33 socialist activists on July 20, 2015, at the Amara Cultural Center in the southeastern district of Suruç. Two ISIL militants then killed at least 102 people attending a peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, in the deadliest attack in the country’s history.
Another jihadist suicide attack blamed on ISIL took place in Istanbul’s touristic Sultanahmet area on Jan. 12, killing 12 German tourists.