A car bomb tore through a crowded transport hub in the Turkish capital of Ankara yesterday, killing at least 34 people and wounding at least 125 more, the second such attack in the administrative heart of the city in less than a month.
The blast, which could be heard several kilometres away, sent burning debris showering down over an area a few hundred metres from the Justice and Interior Ministries, a top courthouse, and the former office of the prime minister.
Police helicopters hovered overhead as a large cloud of smoke rose over the city centre.
“A total of 27 of our citizens were killed when a car exploded at Kizilay’s Guven Park, and close to 75 of our wounded citizens were taken to various hospitals for treatment,” the Ankara governor’s office said in a statement.
The health minister later said 34 people were killed.
Mehmet Muezzinoglu said 125 people were being treated at various hospitals in Ankara, of whom 19 were in a critical condition.
One senior security official said initial findings suggested the attack had been carried out by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or an affiliated militant group, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility. A second official said gunfire was heard after the blast.
Another official said the car used in the attack was a BMW which had been driven from Viransehir, a town in the largely Kurdish southeast. The PKK and the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) appeared to be responsible, he said.
TAK claimed responsibility for the previous car bombing, just a few blocks away on February 17. That bombing killed 29 people, most of them soldiers, near the military headquarters, parliament and other key government institutions.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held an emergency meeting with the interior minister, the head of the intelligence agency and police and security chiefs, officials said. President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with the interior minister.
The pro-Kurdish opposition HDP, parliament’s third largest party, which Erdogan accuses of being an extension of the PKK, condemned what it described as a “savage attack”. – Reuters, March 14, 2016.