Suspects Detained in connection to Ankara Attack: Turkey renews Air-strikes in Syria and Northern Iraq

Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Fourteen suspects were detained from across Turkey in connection with the car bomb attack in Ankara yesterday evening, Interior Minister Efkan Ala reported on Feb. 18.

Yesterday’s terror attack, which targeted military personnel shuttles, caused at least 28 deaths- 20 of which were reportedly military, and 8 civilians. The bombing took place on Inönü Boulevard in the heart of the capital, injuring a further 61 people.

Following the detention of fourteen suspects, President Erdoğan stated that “I guess that the detentions will not be limited to 14.” Erdoğan added that “This process will conduce our friends in the international community to understand how tight the PYD and YPG’s connection to the PKK is”.

Such statements have led to speculation on social media that the President is trying to use this attack in order to justify Turkey’s recent bombing of YPG targets in Syria, as well as coerce the international community into recognizing the PYD and its armed unit, the YPG, as terrorist organizations. Many analysts have argued that this would be the first time the YPG were involved in such an attack and that it would be un-characteristic of them, further fuelling speculation.

Today’s Zaman reported overnight Turkish air-strikes against YPG targets in Syria and PKK areas in Northern Iraq. “Turkey will not shy away from using its right to self-defence at any time, any place or any occasion,” Erdoğan stated following yesterday’s bombing.

Davutoğlu told reporters in Ankara that “We collected intelligence all night… The perpetrators have been fully identified. The attack was carried out by YPG member Salih Necer, who came in from Syria.” They have also accused the Syrian regime of involvement, stating on Tuesday that “both the PYD and YPG are organisations of the Assad regime”.

PYD co-chair Salih Muslim denied these claims, telling AFP that “These accusations are clearly related to Turkish attempts to intervene in Syria.” He further stated that this was the first time they had heard the name Salih Necer.

Muslim drew attention to ISILs (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) recent heightened activity in Turkey. This is the second bombing in Ankara of late, occurring just four months after an ISIL attack against a peace-meeting claimed over a hundred lives.

Both Erdoğan and Davutoğlu reiterated that they have obtained the necessary documents from the Ministry of Interior and intelligence agencies. This information has now been given to the five permanent members of the UNSC by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu.

The Turkish government has been in disputes with both Washington and Moscow over their continued support for the PYD, which Ankara argues is an offshoot of the PKK.

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