The story behind the iconic Ankara bombing image

The story behind the iconic Ankara bombing image

Mesut Hasan Benli – ANKARA
The story behind the iconic Ankara bombing image


The wounded man seen hugging his injured wife in the iconic image captured by Reuters photographer Tümay Berkin in the aftermath of the Oct. 10 Ankara bombing was İzzettin Çevik, a teacher working in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.

Çevik arrived in Ankara on Oct. 10 along with his wife Hatice and his sister Nilgün to proclaim “peace” amid all the negations engulfing the country. He had left his two other children at home in Şanlıurfa, while his daughter, Başak Sidar, was studying construction engineering in Ankara. All four from the family were attending the anticipated peace rally. Hatice and İzzettin Çevik met with their daughter in front of Ankara’s main train station, where a twin blast ahead of the rally claimed the lives of at least 97 people and wounded hundreds, marking the largest single terror attack in the country’s history.

However, the deafening explosion left their longing for peace unfulfilled, as Başak and her aunt Nilgün immediately died at the scene. Çevik survived with slight injuries, while his wife sustained wounds to her eyes. The image of Çevik embracing his shattered wife became imprinted on the nation’s memories as the image of terror. That iconic image also appeared on page one of both daily Hürriyet and Hürriyet Daily News, along with many other newspapers and other media outlets in the country.

A day after the attack, Çevik set out for the Suruç district of Şanlıurfa to lay his daughter and sister to rest. He told Hürriyet about those moments while he was on the way. 

“My daughter was a fourth-year at Atılım University. She came to us while we were waiting at the meeting point. Then we entered the site. We were trusting someone and were only saying ‘peace.’ But they did this to us in the heart of Ankara. Our grief is great. All I want now is to lay our souls to rest. My wife is currently under treatment in hospital. I do not want to say more,” said Çevik, hardly speaking.