Turkish Interior Ministry suspends provincial security officials over Ankara bomb attack
ANKARAThe Turkish Interior Ministry has suspended provincial security officials over the Oct. 10 Ankara bombings which killed at least 97 people, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has acknowledged the presence of “security shortcomings.”
In a statement posted on its official website late on Oct. 13, the Interior Ministry said it had removed the police, intelligence and security chiefs of Ankara from their posts in an effort to conduct an effective investigation into the bombings. The ministry did not say if the officials would return to their posts after the investigation.
Earlier on the evening of Oct. 13, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held a closed-door meeting which lasted for more than half an hour with Interior Minister Selami Altınok.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has repeatedly called for the resignation of both Altınok and Justice Minister Kenan İpek due to the state’s failure to stop the massacre in the heart of the capital, just a couple of hundred meters from a number of ministries.
On Oct. 10, on the day of the attack, Altınok had summarily denied any responsibility in the attack and said he was not considering resigning.
“It’s wrong to come to the conclusion ‘these ministers are responsible’ without even the results of the investigation being clear,” Davutoğlu said on Oct. 12, in response to Kılıçdaroğlu’s call.
Yet, Erdoğan, who broke three days of silence with his first public remarks on the attacks at a joint news conference with visiting Finnish President Sauli Niinistö late on Oct. 13, admitted there were security shortcomings but said their magnitude would be made clear only later.
“There must undoubtedly be a mistake, a shortcoming in some place. Of what dimension? This will emerge after examinations,” Erdoğan said.
“If there’s any negligence of duty, then both the prime minister and related units will take steps needed. Nobody should doubt it,” he said.
“[But] it is not appropriate to engage the resignation mechanism after every incident,” he said, without elaborating on when a Turkish minister had ever resigned for operational shortcomings.