A suicide car bomber detonated their bombs at approximately 6:30 PM local time in Guven Park in the Kizilay district, a key transport hub in Ankara, Turkey, according to BBC News. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to “bring terrorism to its knees” in a statement given shortly following the explosion. Mr. Erdogan said in a statement that terror groups were targeting civilians because they were losing the battle against Turkish security forces. Calling for national unity, he said Turkey would use its right to self-defence to prevent future attacks. “Our people should not worry, the struggle against terrorism will for certain end in success and terrorism will be brought to its knees,” he said. Mr. Erdogan said the suicide car bomb would serve only to strengthen the resolve of Turkey’s security forces.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but government officials are speculating that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is responsible. Interior Minister Efkan Ala said an investigation would conclude on Monday and those responsible would be named. Kurdish rebels have carried out a series of attacks on Turkish soil in recent months. The so-called Islamic State group has also targeted Ankara recently.
Following the bombing, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that he is postponing a scheduled visit to Jordan. The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), of which Turkey is a signatory nation, both condemned the attack. Spokesman for the U.S. State Department, John Kirby, said, “We reaffirm our strong partnership with our Nato ally Turkey in combating the shared threat of terrorism. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also condemned the attack, saying there was “no justification of such heinous acts of violence”.
Last month, a bomb attack on a military convoy in Ankara killed 28 people and wounded dozens more. That bombing was claimed by a Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK). It said on its website that the attack was in retaliation for the policies of President Erdogan.Turkey, however, blamed a Syrian national who was a member of another Kurdish group. Last October, more than 100 people were killed in a double-suicide bombing at a Kurdish peace rally in Ankara.
Turkey is under increasing pressure from both Kurdish rebels and Islamic State fighters. The military and law enforcement have sealed off the blast site and have begun to gather evidence. Turkey braces for more attacks, and hopes that this cycle of violence will end soon at the hands of the Turkish military.