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Turkey: 28 killed, 61 wounded following Ankara bomb attack

18th Feb 2016
Turkey: 28 killed, 61 wounded following Ankara bomb attack

ANKARA (AA): At least 28 people were killed in an explosion targeting military-owned vehicles on Wednesday evening.

At least 30 of the 61 people wounded in Wednesday’s deadly bomb attack in the Turkish capital Ankara have been discharged from hospital.

The Turkish General Staff issued a statement early on Thursday saying that the remaining 31 were still hospitalized, but none were in critical condition.

Air Force Brigadier General Reha Ufuk Er and his wife, who were near the scene of attack and were slightly wounded, were in good condition, it added.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters on Wednesday that a delegation of seven investigators headed by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor was working on the case. He vowed that the identities of those behind the attack would be revealed at the earliest.

An initial report from Ankara’s governor suggested three military-owned vehicles and a private vehicle were hit during the evening rush hour.

Anadolu Agency reporters at the scene said the blast occurred in Merasim Street which connects Dikmen Street to Inonu Boulevard and is close to Turkish General Staff and parliament buildings.

Ankara Governor Mehmet Kiliclar said the authorities believed a bomb-laden vehicle was the source of the blast.

The Turkish General Staff said that a “terror attack” hit vehicles carrying its personnel at 6.31 p.m. local time [1631 GMT] while they were waiting at traffic lights on Inonu Boulevard.

Following the attack, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu cancelled a planned visit to Brussels while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a trip to Azerbaijan scheduled for Thursday.

The attack was also condemned by the global community, which offered solidarity to Turkey.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack through his official spokesperson. “[Ban] hopes the perpetrators of this terrorist attack will be swiftly brought to justice. He sends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims”, read a statement issued from his office.

“The United Nations stands in solidarity with the people and the government of Turkey at this tragic time”, it added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among the first to strongly condemn the attack and express support for Turkey in the fight against terrorism.

“The federal German government strongly condemns this recent terror attack,” Merkel said in a statement released Wednesday evening.

“I would like to tell the Turkish people the following: We Germans are sharing your pain. We will stand side-by-side Turkey in fighting those who are responsible for such inhuman acts,” she said.

Merkel expressed her sympathy to the families of those killed in the attack and wished a speedy recovery to the survivors.

Philip Hammond, the U.K. foreign secretary, also condemned the blast.

He wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the victims of #Ankara terror attack. The U.K. utterly condemns this senseless act of violence.” Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary-general, said Turkey had the alliance’s full backing after the atrocity.

“I offer my deepest condolences to the families of those killed and to the Turkish people. My thoughts are also with those who have been wounded,” he said in a statement.

“There can be no justification for such horrific acts. NATO Allies stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against terrorism.”

And Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, offered solidarity from Europe.

She wrote in a statement: “Another terrible attack hit the center of Ankara tonight. The EU extends condolences to the families of the victims killed in the attack and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. Our fullest sympathy goes to the Turkish people and authorities.

“We are with Turkey and its people in these difficult times and stand by all those who suffer from the consequences of such violence, and of terrorism.”

In a statement issued from the Elysee Palace, French President Francois Hollande denounced the “horrific attack”, expressing solidarity with the Turkish people.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni condemned the attack at a conference of the Foreign Journalists’ Association in Rome.

We are “deeply saddened by this attack”, he said.

Qatar also condemned the attack in a statement issued by its foreign ministry and said it would “support to all measures [Turkey] takes to face such criminal acts which aim to shake its security and stability”.

Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, sent a message of condolence his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, describing terrorism as an “evil” for humanity.

“This ruthless event once more underlines the necessity of jointly fighting against terrorism,” Aliyev added.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry also condemned the terrorist attack in Ankara and reaffirmed its solidarity with Turkey.

“We have no doubt that Turkey would eliminate the scourge of terrorism with its strong will and unshakable resolve,” a statement read.

Kosovo’s President Atifete Jahjaga said in a tweet she strongly condemned the “heinous terrorist attack in Ankara”.

“Albania strongly condemns the appalling terror attack in Ankara. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,”

Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati tweeted.

In messages posted on their Twitter accounts, the British and American ambassadors to Turkey also condemned the attack.

“Terrible news from Kizilay. Condolences to the families of those killed and speedy recovery to the injured,” wrote U.K. envoy Richard Moore.

Moore said the U.K. “stands shoulder to shoulder with Turkey at this difficult time”.

U.S. ambassador John Bass also wrote that he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the terror attack in Ankara.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department strongly condemned the attack and extended its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased; the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is working to determine if any American citizens “were involved”, spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

 

Author Hale Türkeş

 

 

[Photo: Smoke rises from a burning bus after an explosion at Merasim street on the intersection of Inonu Boulevard and Dikmen avenue in Turkey’s capital Ankara on February 17, 2016. Phtographer:  Murat Kaynak/AA]

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