Ankara attack: Syria’s Kurds behind deadly blast, says Turkish PM

 Funerals of those killed in Ankara will take place on Thursday
Funerals of those killed in Ankara will take place on Thursday

Turkey’s president says there is evidence to prove the Kurdish YPG militia based in Syria were behind Wednesday’s deadly bombing in Ankara.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they had been supported by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey. Both groups deny involvement.

He also said there had been 14 arrests over the attack on the military convoy.

Earlier on Thursday, another convoy in south-east Turkey was hit by a bomb, killing at least six troops.

Turkey v Islamic State v the Kurds: What’s going on?

Mourning Ankara’s dead

Wednesday’s bombing in Ankara targeted the convoy as it passed close to key government buildings. Twenty-eight people – at least 20 of them military personnel- were killed and 61 injured.

Tearful families have been gathering outside a forensic medical office in the Turkish capital, waiting for the bodies of their loved ones to be handed over for burial, the BBC’s Yolande Knell reports from the scene.

Analysis: Selin Girit, BBC News, Istanbul

Turkey feels under increasing pressure. The ceasefire with the PKK collapsed in July last year, prompting months of military operations, curfews, attacks and hundreds of dead and injured in the south-east of the country.

Ankara also seems to be getting increasingly involved in the Syrian conflict. In the last week Turkish artilleries have been shelling YPG targets across the border.

There have been three suicide bombings in three cities, killing almost 150 people, in the last seven months. The latest attacks, in Ankara and Diyarbakir, are adding to the already alarming mood.

President Erdogan has vowed to retaliate, but many people fear the country could actually be dragged into a spiral of violence.

One young woman, posting on Facebook, said: “After such a bloody day, we will again be taking buses or tube and will try to go to work in one piece. We will try to figure out if there is a suspicious package, if there is a suspicious person. God help us all!!”

Her feelings are shared by many living across Turkey. “If such an attack could take place in the heart of Ankara, at such proximity to the military headquarters and the parliament building, how are we supposed to feel safe?” people ask.

Fresh attack on Turkish military

Within hours of the Ankara blast, reports emerged of a similar attack on a military convoy in the mainly Kurdish south-east of Turkey.

The army said six soldiers were killed and another was badly wounded after the convoy struck an improvised explosive device in the province of Diyarbakir on Thursday morning. The army blamed the PKK for the attack.

Last month, at least six people died in Diyarbakir when a car bomb struck a police headquarters. Authorities blamed PKK fighters for the explosion.

Turkish warplanes strike PKK in Iraq

Turkey has been targeting some Kurdish militia groups in both Syria and Iraq for some time now.

But the military said it carried out targeted strikes overnight on around 70 PKK militants, some of them senior commanders, based in the Haftanin region of northern Iraq.

Tensions have steadily increased between Turkey and the PKK since a two-and-a-half year long ceasefire ended last July.

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