Turkish police detain eight during operation on Ankara bomber’s commemoration

Turkish police detain eight during operation on Ankara bomber’s commemoration

Turkish police detain eight during operation on Ankara bomber’s commemoration

DHA Photo

Turkish police have detained eight suspects during an operation on a mosque in eastern Van province, where the Ankara bomber’s family was receiving condolences, after Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Tuğba Hezer created outrage by paying a visit to the commemoration. 

Police raided the basement of a mosque in the Hacıbekir neighborhood of Van’s İpekyolu district, where the family of the Ankara suicide bomber, Abdülbaki Sömer, was receiving condolences.

The commemoration was brought to the public’s attention following a visit by HDP deputy Hezer, as the bomber’s photographs were hung on the walls of the apartment with a flag of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the background of one of the pictures, according to previous reports by Doğan News Agency. 

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called Hezer’s visit “treason,” saying the HDP’s authorized bodies owed an explanation to the nation. 

“Joining the commemoration of a suicide bomber, someone who spilled blood, who has blood on his hands, to remember him with respect, is the biggest treason to humanity,” Davutoğlu said. 

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also condemned the visit, and joined the prime minister in defining it as “treason.”

“You go to parliament, get paid by the Turkish Republic, swear an oath by your honor and then go visit a terrorist’s tent, award the terrorist and encourage acts of terror,” he said, adding such behavior was “unacceptable.” 

An investigation was launched into Hezer’s visit to the commemoration by the Van Chief Prosecutor’s Office. 

Another investigation was launched against Hezer for her speech delivered on Feb. 15 following a march that took place on the 17th anniversary of the capture of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK. 

If the prosecutor’s office decides the accusations are proven on legal grounds, it would demand Hezer’s parliamentary immunity to be lifted with regard to the Turkish constitution’s 83rd article.  

Meanwhile, eight suspects were detained during the raid launched by the anti-terror police in Van. One of the detainees is reportedly Sömer’s older brother, Nuri Sömer. 

According to earlier reports by Doğan News Agency, Nuri claimed his brother went missing in 2005, after which the family filed a missing persons report with the prosecutor’s office. Musa Sömer, the bomber’s father, was brought to Ankara for DNA testing to confirm his son’s role in the attack. 

The deadly Feb. 17 attack targeted military personnel shuttles in the heart of Ankara and killed at least 29 people. It was the second attack to hit the Turkish capital after alleged Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants bombed a large peace rally on Oct. 10, 2015, killing 102 people.