Ankara bombing 'collective terrorist act': Turkey's Erdogan

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday (Oct 22) pinned responsibility for the deadly Ankara bombing on a "terror collective".
Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday (Oct 22) pinned responsibility for the deadly Ankara bombing on a "terror collective".PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkey's president on Thursday (Oct 22) pinned responsibility for the deadly Ankara bombing on a "terror collective" comprising the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, Turkish and Syrian Kurds and the Syrian intelligence service.

Over 100 people were killed when two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the capital's central train station on Oct 10, and Turkish authorities have said the ISIS militant group is the "number one suspect" for the attack.

But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressing a union confederation meeting, said "the attack in front of the station reveals how terror is practised collectively. It's a collective terrorist act."

"The PKK, Daesh, the Mukhabarat, the PYD are all involved. They planned this operation together," he said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the ISIS group, Syria's state-controlled military intelligence service and Syria's Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

The blasts, which came less than a month before a hotly-contested general election, targeted a pro-Kurdish and liberal peace rally which had called for an end to hostilities between Turkish security forces and Kurdish rebels.

Pressure has piled on Erdogan ahead of the Nov 1 poll, with opposition figures blaming him for security lapses over the Ankara bombing and failing to crack down on ISIS.

On Monday, the government confirmed that one of the suicide bombers was Yunus Emre Alagoz, brother of the man suspected of a similar attack in Suruc that killed 34 people in July.

The second suicide bomber has yet to be formally identified but is believed to hail from the same city as Alagoz.

The government has said it is exploring ties between attacks on Suruc, Ankara and the city of Diyarbakir.

Five people were killed in Diyarbakir in June after a bomb exploded during a pre-election campaign rally for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). One man was arrested for involvement in that attack.

A total of 768 people have been arrested over suspected links to ISIS since the Suruc attack in July.