Two suspects nabbed after gunshots fired at US embassy in Ankara as Turkey slams 'provocation'
Ahmet Çelikten, 39, and Osman Gündaş, 38, have confessed to their involvement in the armed attack on the U.S. embassy in Ankara. Turkish police identified the two suspects after scanning hundreds of security camera footage.
Two suspects have been detained after several gunshots from a vehicle by unidentified assailants were fired at the United States Embassy in Ankara early on Aug 20 in an attack that the Turkish government condemned as "a clear provocation."
Ankara Governor's Office named the suspects as Ahmet Çelikten and Osman Gündaş; the 9mm pistol and vehicle used in the shooting incident were also seized.
Çelikten and Gündaş have confessed that they attacked the embassy under the influence of alcohol, said security sources.
Çelikten, who was born in 1979, was wanted for prison break; he also had a criminal record for causing reckless injury; the other suspect, Gündaş, born in 1980, had several criminal records such as causing deliberate injury, drugs and auto theft.
A judicial probe into the incident remains ongoing; contacts of the suspects and all aspects of the shooting incident are being investigated, said the official statement.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey thanked the Turkish police and government for its efforts in nabbing the suspects.
"We thank the Turkish National Police and the Government of Turkey for their fast and professional action in apprehending two individuals who allegedly attacked our Mission this morning. We appreciate their support and protection," the U.S. Mission in Turkey said on Twitter.
The attack took place at 5.30 a.m. local time (0230 GMT) when six shots were fired from a white vehicle at the U.S. Embassy's main entrance.
The Governor's Office said in a statement that three bullets hit the metal door and glass panel of the security cabin.
"We condemn the attack on the US embassy. This is clearly an attempt to create chaos. Turkey is a safe country and all foreign missions are under the protection of law," presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said in a tweet.
"Armed attack against the US embassy is a clear provocation. Embassies are under the protection of our state," the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Ömer Çelik said.
A written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy also condemned the attack on the U.S. Embassy and informed about increased security measures for the Embassy in Ankara and other U.S. diplomatic missions across the country.
The incident comes as ties between Ankara and Washington are in an unprecedented crisis over the continued detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson.
U.S. administration had imposed sanctions and vows to do more against Turkey in the case the pastor would not be released immediately.
The U.S. embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul have been the targets of attacks by militants and have faced numerous security threats in the past.