Top level security at Ankara’s main bus terminal
AA photoAfter it was revealed that the bomb that killed 37 people in Ankara was transported to the city on an intercity bus, security measures at the main bus terminal of the city (AŞTİ) have been widely increased. According to a statement from Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, after the March 13 attack, AŞTİ was placed under the highest security measures. The station hosts an average of 80,000 people daily.
Number of entrance points to the terminal has been minimized while security checks have been tightened around the clock. While the luggage of passengers arriving at AŞTİ via Ankaray, the city metro line, are all x-rayed, the passengers themselves are searched with detectors.
Special security forces are continuously patrolling the terminal. Advanced security cameras in nearby buildings and green spots are constantly surveilling the area.
Arriving vehicles are also checked at the entrance of AŞTİ with their trunks opened and searched. Even pedestrians are searched with detectors and those who refuse to be searched are not allowed to go inside.
One of the suspects detained in connection with the car bomb attack, identified only by M.V.D., told police that the explosive material was given to him in the eastern province Şanlıurfa, from where he took the bag to Ankara via an intercity bus.
M.V.D. said he met Vahit A. in Şanlıurfa eight or nine days before March 11 at a place near the Şanlıurfa DSİ dam. There, Vahit A. handed him a black-colored sports bag.
In his police statement, M.V.D. said, “When I asked him what was inside the bag, he said there were two plastic boxes; one of them was 5 kilograms, the other 10 kilograms. In one of them there was isot [a local red pepper] pepper; the other one was pepper paste but the powered pepper box had a gun hidden in it.
They hid the bag by digging a hole in the ground near the Urfa Police School Kanal Yolu, the police statement said. Vahit told M.V.D. that he had ongoing court cases and he had obtained the gun because of his “many enemies.”
Vahit then introduced Seher Çağla Demir, a female identified by the state as the attack’s perpetrator, to M.V.D. as his fiancée. Vahit also told him that Seher’s father was after the couple and that he was dangerous.
“Vahit gave me 100 Turkish Liras before he returned to Ankara on Feb. 25. Two days later he phoned me and asked me to buy a bus ticket for Seher Çağla Demir for Ankara. I bought a ticket for 9 p.m. for Sunday. And I gave the ticket to Seher Çağla Dermir at his sister’s house,” M.V.D. said.
The suspect also told the police that he had witnessed the purchasing of the vehicle used in the bomb attack, which was bought in Şanlıurfa.
On March 10, one day before he came to Ankara, Vahit A. called him and told him to bring the bag: “The same day, I departed for Ankara. In the bus, I met a passenger and used his phone to call Vahit and we spoke. Next morning I arrived at AŞTİ.”
“When I arrived in AŞTİ,” his police testimony continues, “I was met by Seher Çağla Dermir and Vahit… I handed in the bag to Vahit and I took a bus back to Şanlıurfa. I absolutely did not know the bag had a bomb in it. Vahit told me that if I looked inside the bag, that it would be troublesome for me. Because he was using a threatening tone, I did not look inside the bag and did not see what was inside.”