Suicide Bomber Detonates Device in Turkish Capital, Second Assailant Is Killed in Shootout

Members of Turkish Police Special Forces secure the area near the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, on October 1, 2023, leaving two police officers injured. (AFP)
Members of Turkish Police Special Forces secure the area near the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, on October 1, 2023, leaving two police officers injured. (AFP)
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Suicide Bomber Detonates Device in Turkish Capital, Second Assailant Is Killed in Shootout

Members of Turkish Police Special Forces secure the area near the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, on October 1, 2023, leaving two police officers injured. (AFP)
Members of Turkish Police Special Forces secure the area near the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, on October 1, 2023, leaving two police officers injured. (AFP)

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the heart of the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Sunday, while a second assailant was killed in a shootout with police, the interior minister said.

The attack occurred hours before Parliament was set to reopen after its three-month summer recess with an address by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Two police officers were slightly injured during the attack near an entrance to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, minister Ali Yerlikaya said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. The attack was conducted by assailants who arrived at the scene inside a light commercial vehicle, he said.

"Our heroic police officers, through their intuition, resisted the terrorists as soon as they got out of the vehicle," Yerlikaya later told reporters. "One of them blew himself up while the other one was shot in the head before he had a chance to blow himself up."

"Our fight against terrorism, their collaborators, the (drug) dealers, gangs and organized crime organizations will continue with determination," he said.

The minister did not say who was behind the attack and there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Kurdish and far-left militant groups as well as the ISIS group have carried out deadly attacks throughout the country in the past.

In his speech in parliament, Erdogan called the attack "the last stand of terrorism."

"The scoundrels who targeted the peace and security of the citizens could not achieve their goals and they never will," he said.

The president reiterated his government's aim to create a 30-kilometer (20 mile) safe zone along its border with Syria to secure its southern border from attacks.

Türkiye has launched several incursions into northern Syria since 2016 to drive away the ISIS  group and a Kurdish armed group, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), from the frontier, and controls swaths of territory in the area.

Türkiye views the YPG as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which is listed as a terror group by Türkiye, the United States and the European Union. The PKK has waged an insurgency against Türkiye since 1984. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict.

Last year, a bomb blast in a bustling pedestrian street in Istanbul left six people dead, including two children. More than 80 others were wounded. Türkiye blamed the attack on the PKK and the YPG.

The State-run Anadolu Agency reported that the two attackers on Sunday had seized the vehicle in the central province of Kayseri from a veterinarian. The pro-government daily Sabah reported that they shot the man in the head and threw his body into a ditch by the side of the road. They then drove the vehicle to Ankara, roughly 300 kilometers (200 miles) away.

Security camera footage on Sunday showed the vehicle stopping in front of the ministry, with a man exiting it and rushing toward the entrance of the building before blowing himself up. A second man is seen following him.

Earlier, television footage showed bomb squads working near a 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.

Turkish authorities later imposed a temporary blackout on images from the scene.

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

"These attacks will in no way hinder Türkiye’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, Yerlikaya said.

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

The US Embassy in Ankara and other foreign missions also issued messages condemning the attack.

Erdogan in his speech did not provide any indication as to when Türkiye’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, Türkiye blocked Sweden’s membership in the military alliance, accusing it of not doing enough to tackle groups like PKK from operating on its soil.  

In a posting on X, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Stockholm "strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack in Ankara. We reaffirm our commitment to long-term cooperation with Türkiye in combatting terrorism and wish for quick and full recovery of the ones injured."



Foreign Leaders React to Biden Ending Reelection Campaign

 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks at a Chief of the Defense Staff change of command ceremony between Gen. Wayne Eyre and Gen. Jennie Carignan at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, on Thursday, July 18, 2024. (The Canadian Press via AP)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks at a Chief of the Defense Staff change of command ceremony between Gen. Wayne Eyre and Gen. Jennie Carignan at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, on Thursday, July 18, 2024. (The Canadian Press via AP)
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Foreign Leaders React to Biden Ending Reelection Campaign

 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks at a Chief of the Defense Staff change of command ceremony between Gen. Wayne Eyre and Gen. Jennie Carignan at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, on Thursday, July 18, 2024. (The Canadian Press via AP)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks at a Chief of the Defense Staff change of command ceremony between Gen. Wayne Eyre and Gen. Jennie Carignan at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, on Thursday, July 18, 2024. (The Canadian Press via AP)

Following are some reactions from foreign leaders and officials to US President Joe Biden's decision on Sunday to end his campaign to seek reelection in November:

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

"I’ve known President Biden for years. He’s a great man, and everything he does is guided by his love for his country. As President, he is a partner to Canadians — and a true friend. To President Biden and the First Lady: thank you."

GERMAN CHANCELLOR OLAF SCHOLZ, ON X

"Joe Biden has achieved a great deal: for his country, for Europe, for the world. Thanks to him, transatlantic cooperation is close, NATO is strong and the USA is a good and reliable partner for us. His decision not to run again deserves recognition."

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER KEIR STARMER:

"I respect President Biden's decision and I look forward to us working together during the remainder of his presidency," Starmer said in a statement.

"I know that, as he has done throughout his remarkable career, President Biden will have made his decision based on what he believes is in the best interests of the American people."

ISRAELI MINISTER OF DEFENSE YOAV GALLANT

"Thank you President Joe Biden, for your unwavering support of Israel over the years. Your steadfast backing, especially during the war, has been invaluable. We are grateful for your leadership and friendship."

SPANISH PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ ON X:

"All my admiration and recognition for the brave and dignified decision of the president @JoeBiden. Thanks to its determination and leadership, the US overcame the economic crisis after the pandemic and the serious assault on the Capitol and has been exemplary in its support for Ukraine in the face of Putin's Russian aggression. A great gesture from a great president who has always fought for democracy and freedom."

IRISH PRIME MINISTER SIMON HARRIS:

"On behalf of the people and government of Ireland. I ... would like to thank you Mr President for your global leadership and your friendship as you make your announcement that you will not stand in the 2024 US Presidential election," Harris said in a statement.

"Joe Biden, in all the offices he has held, has always been an unwavering voice and passionate worker for peace on the island of Ireland and our country owes him a great debt for this."

KREMLIN SPOKESMAN DMITRY PESKOV, SPEAKING TO SHOT NEWS OUTLET:

"The elections are still four months away, and that is a long period of time in which a lot can change. We need to be patient and carefully monitor what happens. The priority for us is the special military operation," Peskov said, referring to the war in Ukraine.

NORWEGIAN PRIME MINISTER JONAS GAHR STOERE:

"I respect President Joe Biden's decision not to run for re-election. He justifies the decision by saying that he wants to put the country before himself. That reasoning commands respect," Stoere said in a statement to Reuters.

"Joe Biden has been one of America's most prominent politicians over several decades, and a president who has carried out several important reforms. I particularly commend him for his leadership in NATO and look forward to working with Biden as the president of the United States until the end of January."

POLISH PRIME MINISTER DONALD TUSK ON X:

"Mr. President @JoeBiden, many times you have made difficult decisions that have made Poland, America, and the world safer, and democracy and freedom stronger. I know that you were guided by the same principles when announcing your latest decision. Perhaps the most difficult one in your life."

CZECH PRIME MINISTER PETR FIALA ON X:

"It is undoubtedly the decision of a statesman who has served his country for decades. It is a responsible and personally difficult step, but it is all the more valuable. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the USA that a good president emerges from the democratic competition of two strong and equal candidates."