US ambassador: Cooperation to continue with Turkey

US ambassador: Cooperation to continue with Turkey

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
US ambassador: Cooperation to continue with Turkey

U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Francis Ricciardone (L) and Ankara Gov. Alaaddin Yüksel (R) are speaking to reporters. AA photo

The U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, Francis Ricciardone, told reporters outside the embassy building that Washington’s close cooperation with Turkey on the incident will continue.

“This attack will not affect Turkish-American relations and we still see you as a friend,” Ricciardone said.

Speaking to reporters alongside Ricciardone, Ankara Governor Alleaddin Yüksel confirmed reports that two people were killed and one wounded, saying all necessary measures were taken by authorities after the attack. Yüksel also thanked security forces for their quick response.

The U.S. embassy issued a written statement saying that necessary measures had been taken. “We thank Turkish authorities for their rapid intervention,” it said, noting that they will share more information as it becomes available, Anatolia news agency reported.

Ricciardone, together with his wife, also visited the family of the slain security officer, Mustafa Akarsu. After the visit, he told reporters that they had come to express their condolences. 

“We were all terribly saddened. Mustafa was a big hero, we share his family’s grief. He saved us all. God knows how many would have died if he hadn’t been there. I’m thankful for his service,” said Ricciardone, speaking in Turkish. 

British Foreign Secretary condemns attack

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague has also condemned the U.S. Embassy attack in Ankara and offers condolences to those involved.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims of the terrorist attack at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara today. I condemn this attack in the strongest terms. Turkey and the United States can rely on the full support of the United Kingdom as they seek to hold to account those responsible,” Hague said.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has also condemned the attack in a statement. "This is an outrageous attack on the diplomatic premises of one Ally, on the territory of another Ally. It shows a reckless disregard for human life and for the inviolability of diplomatic staff,” the statement read.

Washington ‘working closely’ with Ankara

The U.S. State Department said it is working with Turkish officials to investigate a deadly explosion outside the U.S. Embassy in Ankara on Feb. 1.

“We are working closely with the Turkish national police to make a full assessment of the damage and the casualties, and to begin an investigation,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

Nuland called the explosion at the embassy compound’s checkpoint at 1:13 p.m. Ankara time “a terrorist blast.” A suicide bomber killed a Turkish security guard, blew the door off a side entrance and sent smoke and debris flying into the street.

In a statement, the U.S. embassy thanked Turkey for “its solidarity and outrage over the incident.” Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the attack “in the strongest terms,” and said Turkey and the U.S. would have the U.K.’s full support as they seek to hold those responsible to account.

'We should together condemn all kinds of terrorism'

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also denounced the attack.

“The people of this beautiful country have majorly suffered due to terror,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters Feb. 1 at Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport. Kılıçdaroğlu said terrorism should not achieve its purpose. “For this, we should together condemn all kinds of terrorism ... When we do this, terrorism will be wiped away from our country.”

Turkish Ambassador to Washington Namık Tan wrote on Twitter: “We strongly condemn [the] heinous [and] outrageous terrorist attack on U.S. Embassy in Ankara. Our thoughts [and] prayers go out to the innocent killed or wounded.”