Turkish jets attack Iraqi Kurds
Turkish jets were quick to respond to the Ankara bombing. Source: Wikimedia
Ankara sent fighter jets to attack Kurdish militant camps in northern Iraq on Monday, the day after 37 people died in an Ankara car bombing that security officials said was carried out by male and female members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The attack took place a few hundred metres from the Justice and Interior ministries. It was the second bombing of its kind in the middle of Turkey’s capital in less than a month. No one has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bombing. A police source said a severed hand belonging to a female PKK member had been found 300 metres from the centre of the explosion. The authorities claimed she was born in 1992, from Kars near the Armenian border and had joined the PKK in 2013.
One of the victims of Sunday’s bombing included the father of footballer Umut Bulut who plays for Turkey and Galatasaray, the Istanbul club announced.
Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast has been descending into a state of near civil war since attacks in July by government forces dismantled the 2½-year ceasefire. Much of the southeast is now under curfew. Other Nato members see Turkey’s stability as vital to containing violence in neighbouring Syria and Iraq and President Tayyip Erdogan is keen to demonstrate that he can maintain security.
“With the power of our state and wisdom of our people, we will dig up the roots of this terror network which targets our unity and peace,” tweeted Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Ankara said 11 warplanes carried out air strikes on 18 targets in northern Iraq on Monday morning, including ammunition stores. The PKK is allegedly based in mountainous northern Iraq, controlling operations in Turkey. The security services had arrested 15 people in Istanbul in operations against the PKK and 50 more elsewhere in Turkey, according to CNN Turk.
A British expat who lives in Ankara said on Facebook that internet users should express solidarity with the bombing victims. James Taylor wrote: “[It] is the equivalent of a bomb going off outside Debenhams on the Drapery in Northampton, or on New Street in Birmingham, or Piccadilly Circus in London. Can you imagine being there? Can you imagine the place you walk past every day, the bus stops you use, the roads you cross being obliterated.
“Ankara is not a war zone, it is a normal modern bustling city, just like any other European capital, and Kizilay is the absolute heart … You were Charlie, you were Paris. Will you be Ankara?”