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Two gunmen launch a bomb attack near the Turkish Interior Ministry in Ankara

Two gunmen carried out a bomb attack on Sunday morning, in front of the entrance to the Security Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior in the capital, Ankara, according to the Turkish Minister of the Interior.

نفذ مسلحان هجوما بالقنابل صباح اليوم، أمام مدخل مديرية الأمن التابعة لوزارة الداخلية في العاصمة أنقرة، حسبما أعلن وزير الداخلية التركي.

Minister Ali Yerlikaya said: “Two terrorists carried out an attack in front of the ministry building. The police killed one of them, while the other blew himself up... We will soon announce the details of the failed attack attempt after the investigations are completed.”

A strong explosion - the first of its kind since 2016 - and gunfire were heard near the headquarters of the Turkish Parliament and the building of the Turkish Ministry of Interior, in the Kazlay area in the center of the capital, which the Ministry of Interior later described as a terrorist attack that resulted in two police officers being slightly injured.

There were no reports of civilian casualties.

The Interior Ministry added in its statement: “Two terrorists arrived in a car at around 9:30 a.m. (6:30 GMT) in front of the entrance gate of the General Directorate of Security of the Ministry of Interior and carried out a bomb attack.”

Video clips spread on social media showed a car lined up in front of the gate of the General Directorate of Security. Two gunmen got out and started shooting at the entrance. Moments after the clashes began, one of the gunmen exploded - or blew himself up, according to the authorities - as he advanced inside the main gate.

While the authorities have not yet identified or accused any party or armed groups of responsibility for this attack, Anadolu Agency said that the Turkish Public Prosecution was responsible for the attack and issued a decision to ban broadcasting and access to content related to the incident.

Ataturk Street was closed to traffic due to the sound of the explosion, which was heard at a point also close to the Jankaya Gate of the Turkish Parliament, and special police forces, fire brigades, and health personnel arrived in the area, according to Anadolu Agency.

The "symbolism" of the attack

Observers initially interpreted the attack as “symbolic” in terms of place and time, as the bombing occurred in a neighborhood that includes the headquarters of a number of ministries, in addition to anticipating the important political moment with Parliament convening today, the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his speech at the opening of the new legislative year during the 28th session. For the National Assembly.

The political specificity that will top Parliament's agenda is the issue of ratifying Sweden's accession to NATO.

Since May 2022, Turkey has obstructed Sweden's accession to NATO, citing the Scandinavian country's position on "fighting terrorist and separatist organizations and harboring elements of the YPG/PKK organization."

Erdogan still maintains an ambiguous position, by repeatedly saying that Parliament is sovereign, and that it alone can decide about Sweden’s membership in the alliance.

In this context, the researcher at the New Turkey Center, Ali Asmar, told the BBC that there were two possible scenarios behind the attack. The first was that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party was responsible for the attack as a result of the presence of ongoing Turkish military operations inside the Iraqi and Syrian borders targeting those associated with the party, in addition to Turkish pressure on Iraq has classified the Kurdistan Workers' Party as a terrorist party, which may represent a message, in conjunction with the return of the Turkish Parliament to session and its discussion of Sweden's accession to NATO, that Turkey must stop targeting the party, according to Ali Asmar.

The Turkish researcher added that the other scenario may be related to internal settling of scores, especially with the security authorities tightening their grip on gangs linked to terrorism, drugs, and criminal organizations. Asmar added that the tense geographical conditions surrounding Turkey make it difficult to predict the responsibility of a specific party for the attack at the present time.

Not the first attack

The capital, Ankara, witnessed many attacks, especially during the years 2015 and 2016, many of which were carried out by the Islamic State or the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Ankara places on its blacklist of terrorist groups.

In October 2015, an attack in front of a central station in Ankara, claimed by ISIS, killed 109 people.

In 2016, at least 34 people were killed and 125 others were injured in a car bomb explosion in central Ankara, near the main bus stop in Guven Park, located in the Kizilay commercial district in the center of the Turkish capital.

The last attack in Turkey occurred when an explosive device was planted in a shopping street in Istanbul in November 2022, when six people were killed and 81 others were injured.

At the time, no party claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turkey accused the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party of being behind the attack and said it arrested 46 people, including a Syrian woman suspected of planting the explosive device.



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