Suicide bomber detonates device in Turkish capital; second assailant killed in shootout in Ankara

Two police officers were slightly injured during the attack near the Ministry of Interior Affairs

October 01, 2023 01:16 pm | Updated 04:46 pm IST - ANKARA, Turkey

Turkish policemen and security forces cordon off an area next to a car after an explosion in Ankara, on October 1, 2023.

Turkish policemen and security forces cordon off an area next to a car after an explosion in Ankara, on October 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

 A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the heart of the Turkish capital, Ankara, on October 1, hours before parliament was scheduled to reopen after a three-month summer recess. A second assailant was killed in a shootout with police, the Interior Minister said.

Two police officers were slightly injured during the attack near an entrance to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on X (formerly, Twitter).

The attack occurred as parliament was set to re-open with an address by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

There was no immediate information on the assailants. Kurdish and far-left militant groups as well as the Islamic State group have carried out deadly attacks throughout the country in the past.

Mr. Yerlikaya said the assailants arrived at the scene inside a light commercial vehicle.

Television footage showed bomb squads working near a parked vehicle in the area which is located near the Turkish Grand National Assembly and other government buildings. A rocket launcher could be seen lying near the vehicle.

Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said an investigation has been launched into the “terror attack.”

“These attacks will in no way hinder Turkey’s fight against terrorism,” he wrote on X. “Our fight against terrorism will continue with more determination.”

Police cordoned off access to the city center and increased security measures, warning citizens that they would be conducting controlled explosions of suspicious packages.

The two police officers were being treated in a hospital and were not in serious condition, media reports said.

Egypt, which has normalized ties with Turkey after a decade of tensions, condemned the attack. A terse statement from the Foreign Ministry offered Egypt’s solidarity with Turkey.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara also the condemned the attack, saying it stands in solidarity with Turkey.

Mr. Erdogan’s speech will be closely watched for indications as to when Turkey’s parliament may ratify Sweden’s membership in NATO.

Stockholm applied for NATO membership alongside Finland following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. While Finland has since joined, Turkey blocked Sweden’s membership in the military alliance, accusing it of being soft on groups that Turkey considers to be security threats. Only Turkey and Hungary are yet to ratify Swedish membership.

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