The Turkish capital Ankara has yet again been hit by terrorists. According to early reports, at least 27 people were killed. Another 75 people were injured.
The attack took place near a bus station in central Ankara. The explosion was truly massive, as is clear from these photos:
The attack was carried out by a car bomber and took place nearby a courthouse and the country’s Justice and Interior ministries.
— Haidar Sumeri (@IraqiSecurity) March 13, 2016
A security camera recorded the blast as it happened:
As usual in Turkey, there are two prime suspects. The first is the PKK, a Kurdish nationalist terrorist organization. This group, which was founded by revolutionary Marxist-Leninists, has waged a relentless war on the Turkish state since the 1980s. Of course, the Turkish government has fought back. All in all, as many as 30,000 people are believed to have been killed in this war.
The second primary suspect is ISIS. Although this radical Islamic group is relatively new, it has already carried out some of the most devastating and horrific terror attacks in Turkey’s history. On October 15, 2015, for instance, the Islamists killed more than 100 people in the nation’s capital.
Although the PKK certainly is a terrorist organization, my money is on ISIS. The car bomber set off the bomb when a bus was near, which was clearly intentional. The goal, then, was to cause as many civilian casualties as possible. That’s ISIS’ MO, not the PKK’s. The Kurds tend to aim for government officials like police officers and soldiers, whereas — as we all know — ISIS is purposefully targeting innocent civilians who are not capable of defending themselves.
Additionally, the pro-Kurdish political party (the HDP), which is accused by the government of having ties to the PKK, has already condemned today’s attack.
However, a Turkish security official told Reuters that initial findings suggest the attack was carried out by either the PKK or a group affiliated with them.
Two days ago, the U.S. embassy in Ankara issued a warning to American citizens in the Turkish capital:
The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that there is information regarding a potential terrorist plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing located in the Bahcelievler area of Ankara. U.S. citizens should avoid this area.
We advise U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings and local events, monitor local news stations for updates, and follow local authority instructions.
Turkish citizens of Ankara were undoubtedly aware of the warning, but Turks are constantly living under the threat of terrorism and simply can’t let these threats dictate their behavior. Sadly, that may have cost some people their lives today.
In the coming hours and days we will undoubtedly find out who’s behind this attack. If it’s the PKK, Ankara will surely step up its attacks against that group and its affiliate in ISIS, the YPG. If, on the other hand, ISIS is behind it, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will finally have to take action against that group, which he has neglected to do until now.