Turkey hit by twin suicide bombings

Police forensic officers at the scene of a suicide bombing in Haymana, on the outskirts of the capital Ankara, yesterday. The two terror suspects, who died in the blast, are believed to be part of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK.
Police forensic officers at the scene of a suicide bombing in Haymana, on the outskirts of the capital Ankara, yesterday. The two terror suspects, who died in the blast, are believed to be part of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Suspected car bomb plotters detonate explosives early in stand-off with police

ANKARA • Two people suspected of planning a car bomb attack on the Turkish capital Ankara yesterday blew themselves up after being confronted by police, averting what the justice minister called a "huge disaster".

The suspects, who both died in the explosion, were believed to be preparing an attack when they set off the explosives, the official Anadolu news agency said.

"A huge disaster has been prevented. It is probable they would have attacked Ankara... All signs are pointing to the PKK terrorist organisation," Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told the CNN-Turk broadcaster.

The PKK is the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

The bombing comes two days before the first anniversary of Turkey's deadliest terror attack in its modern history in Ankara which left 103 dead.

The attack was blamed on militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group.

Ankara governor Ercan Topaca told reporters at the scene it was "highly likely" that the suspects had connections to the PKK.

"The materials used, the construction and the way it was planned point to the PKK," he said, quoted by Anadolu.

The PKK - proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States - has been waging a 32-year insurgency against the state in the country's south-east.

Violence returned to the region after the collapse of a two-year ceasefire last year with hundreds of Turkish security forces killed and thousands of militants dead.

The governor said the police took action yesterday after a tip-off from Diyarbakir, a mainly Kurdish province in Turkey's south-east.

No one else was killed or injured in the blast understood to have taken place close to a black car in the town of Haymana, about 30km from Ankara, the governor's office said in a statement.

The suspects were believed to have been hiding in a hut near a stud farm.

"The security forces launched the operation and warned (them) to surrender. A short while later (and) before any intervention, two terrorists, confirmed to be a man and a woman, detonated themselves," the statement said.

In televised comments, Mr Topaca said the suspects were a man born in the eastern province of Bingol and an unidentified woman.

He said that the authorities were looking for a third person, adding that the suicide bombers hung a Turkish flag on the car to avoid suspicion.

On Friday, Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, which has ties to the PKK, claimed responsibility for a motorcycle bombing on Thursday near a police station in Istanbul, which wounded 10 people.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 09, 2016, with the headline 'Turkey hit by twin suicide bombings'. Print Edition | Subscribe