Erdoğan cancels Baku visit for second time, instead to host Aliyev in Ankara
AA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been forced to cancel a planned visit to neighboring Azerbaijan for a second time, after a car suicide bomb attack rocked Ankara and killed at least 37 people and wounded more than 120 people.
Erdoğan and Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev were set to co-chair an intergovernmental meeting in Baku on March 15. Following the attack on March 13, Aliyev proposed holding the meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting in Ankara on the same day, sources from the Turkish president’s office said on March 14. Erdoğan accepted this proposal which was presented within the framework of displaying solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terror and offered gratitude to Aliyev, the same sources told reporters.
The intergovernmental meeting was originally scheduled to be held in Baku on Feb. 18. At the time, Erdoğan canceled the visit after a Feb. 17 suicide bomb attack on a convoy of military buses killed 29 people in Ankara.
The Feb. 17 attack was claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a splinter group from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which said it was revenge for operations conducted by the Turkish military in the southeast of the country. The Turkish government, however, has insisted that Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia were behind the attack, claiming it was a joint operation with the PKK.
As of March 14 evening, there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest carnage, which reduced cars and buses to charred husks on a busy road in the heart of the city.