Image: Ankara explosion
Officials collect evidence Tuesday at the site where an explosion killed six people and injured 80 in Ankara.
updated 5/23/2007 12:35:59 PM ET 2007-05-23T16:35:59

Investigators have concluded that a suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed six people and injured dozens in Turkey’s capital, using methods similar to those of a Kurdish rebel group, a top official said Wednesday.

Ankara Gov. Kemal Onal identified the suicide attacker as Guven Akkus, a 28-year-old man who had spent two years in prison for hanging illegal posters and resisting police. Onal did not say what kind of posters they were or if Akkus was affiliated with the separatist Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

“The type of the explosives and equipment used is similar to those used by the separatist group,” Onal said.

Onal said Akkus’ body was blown to pieces in the blast Tuesday at a bus stop in front of a busy shopping mall, and the nature of his injuries made clear he was not a victim.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not directly accuse the PKK of involvement, but he suggested that the rebel group was a key suspect.

“We were worried that the terrorist organization could carry out such attacks in major cities,” Erdogan said, referring to the PKK.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul convened an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss new security measures. The attack came at the start of the tourist season, and the injured included eight Pakistanis in Ankara for a weeklong international defense industry fair about 12 miles from the shopping mall.

Authorities earlier said 102 people were hurt, but the governor put the final injury toll at 91.

Warning from Kurds
Earlier this year, Kurdish militants warned that tourists could be their next “targets.” The guerrillas allege Turkey is using lucrative tourism revenues to finance military operations against the separatists.

In August, a hard-line Kurdish group claimed responsibility for a bus bombing in the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris that injured 20 people, including 10 Britons.

But Islamic militants have also carried out bombings in Turkey. In 2003, al-Qaida-linked suicide truck bombers in Istanbul attacked two synagogues, the British Consulate and a British bank, killing 58 people.

“Who feeds terrorist groups? Who’s behind them? That’s what we need to look at,” said Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Turkey’s military chief.

Buyukanit has accused Europe of not doing enough to prevent sympathizers from providing aid to the Kurdish rebel group PKK, deemed a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

The Turkish military says the rebel group is smuggling hundreds of pounds of plastic explosives into the country from neighboring Iraq, where the guerrillas have been based for decades.

There is growing impatience in Turkey over how to deal with Kurdish rebels, and the government has not ruled out military operations aimed at their bases in northern Iraq. The United States opposes Turkish military action in Iraq, fearing it would complicate U.S. efforts to restore stability there.

The blast happened about a mile and a half from the Anatolian Museum of Civilizations where Buyukanit was scheduled to host a reception for visitors of the defense fair less than two hours later. The reception went ahead as planned.

The museum is one of many in the Ulus neighborhood, one of the oldest parts of Ankara and home to the old parliament house. The shopping mall, called Anafartalar, sells mostly clothes and textiles.

“We were cleaning the windows when the pressure from the blast pushed us to the ground,” said Murat Coskun, who owns a nearby shop that sells cell phones. “Everything was covered in dust. I could only hear people screaming.”

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments