Turkish Capital Hit by Suicide Bomber

By Leigha Wentz,
International News Editor

The Kurdish Freedom Falcons, a militant Kurdish group otherwise known as the TAK, claimed responsibility the devastating bombing that occurred in Ankara on Sunday, Mar. 13. In a statement released online on Wednesday, Mar. 16, the TAK claimed that the bombing was the work of their “comrade”, Seher Cagla Demir.

The group claimed that the attack, which resulted in the deaths of 37 people, was carried out in response to recent operations carried out by the Turkish military against Kurdish militants in the country’s southeastern region.

Eleven individuals have been detained in connection with the bombing, according to a statement released by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. In addition, according Al Jazeera, the Turkish air force conducted attacks against Kurdish rebel operations in northern Iraq on the day of the attack.

Sunday’s attack came nearly a month after the TAK claimed responsibility for the bombing of a military convoy in Ankara that resulted in the deaths of 29 people. Turkish officials initially blamed the PKK, according to the BBC. However, PKK leader Cemil Bayik later claimed that the group had no knowledge of those responsible for the attacks, and both the TAK and PKK have emphasized that they are separate entities following a 2004 split.

Both the PKK and TAK are recognized as terrorist organizations by Turkey and the US, and claim to work towards an independent Kurdish state within Turkish territory. Turkey and the PKK had previously operated under a 2013 ceasefire that was terminated by the PKK in July.

According to CNN, the Turkish government has come under criticism from Kurdish residents for a recent crackdown on the southeastern region that has included a strict curfew and allegations of civilian casualties in some areas.

Citing past terror attacks in addition to Sunday’s bombing, Turkish President Recep Erdogan released a statement to shortly after the bombing condemning the attack on civilians.

“Terror organizations and their pawns are targeting our innocent citizens in the most immoral and heartless way,” he said, as quoted by CNN.

“Terror attacks—which intend to target the integrity of Turkey, unity and solidarity of our people—do not diminish our will to fight against terror, but further boost it.”

According to the BBC, the TAK claimed that Sunday’s bombing had been aimed at security forces, rather than civilian targets, but warned that future attacks would inevitably lead to additional civilian casualties.

Another suicide bombing occurred in Istanbul on Sunday, Mar. 19, resulting in the deaths of at least four individuals, with another 36 people injured, according to the BBC.

As yet, neither IS nor Kurdish militant groups have claimed responsibility for the attack.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 22nd print edition.

Contact Leigha at
Leigha.wentz@student.shu.edu

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