Turkey stops 'terror attack' after suicide bomber detonates at Ankara police headquarters, 2nd assailant shot
Turkish authorities say terrorists detonated a suicide bomb outside Ankara police headquarters before security forces neutralized the threat Sunday.
Turkey's security forces reportedly thwarted what officials are calling a "terror attack" after a bomb exploded outside the police headquarters in the capital of Ankara.
At about 9:30 a.m. local time, two assailants arrived in a commercial vehicle outside the front of the entrance gate of the General Directorate of Security of Turkey's Ministry of Internal Affairs and "carried out a bomb attack," Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
"One of the terrorists blew himself up and the other terrorist was neutralized. During the fire, 2 of our police officers were slightly injured. I wish a speedy recovery to our heroes," Yerlikaya wrote.
"Our heroic police officers, through their intuition, resisted the terrorists as soon as they got out of the vehicle," Yerlikaya later told reporters, according to The Associated Press. "One of them blew himself up while the other one was shot in the head before he had a chance to blow himself up."
"Our fight against terrorism, their collaborators, the (drug) dealers, gangs and organized crime organizations will continue with determination," he said.
The incident happened hours before Parliament was scheduled to reconvene nearby after its three-month summer recess with an address by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan went on with his address as planned, telling Parliament hours later, "Terrorists trying to destroy peace and citizens’ security will never succeed," according to Al Jazeera.
"Today’s terrorist act in Ankara, in which two criminals were neutralized thanks to timely intervention of police, is last flutters of terrorism," Erdogan said.
Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said an investigation has been launched into the "terror attack."
"These attacks will in no way hinder Turkey's fight against terrorism," he wrote on X. "Our fight against terrorism will continue with more determination."
Security camera footage on Sunday showed a vehicle stopping in front of the ministry, with a man exiting it and rushing toward the entrance of the building before blowing himself up. A second man is seen following him.
Earlier, television footage showed bomb squads working near a vehicle in the area, which is located near the Turkish Grand National Assembly and other government buildings. A rocket launcher could be seen lying near the vehicle.
Turkish authorities later imposed a temporary blackout on images from the scene, according to the AP.
The interior minister did not say who was behind the attack and there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Kurdish and far-left militant groups as well as the Islamic State group have carried out deadly attacks throughout the country in the past.
Last year, a bomb blast in a bustling pedestrian street in Istanbul left six people dead, including two children. More than 80 others were wounded. Turkey blamed the attack on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as well as Syrian Kurdish groups affiliated with it.
Erdogan’s speech is being closely watched for indications as to when Turkey’s parliament may ratify Sweden’s membership in NATO.
Stockholm applied for NATO membership alongside Finland following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. While Finland has since joined, Turkey blocked Sweden’s membership in the military alliance, accusing it of being soft on groups that Turkey considers to be security threats. Only Turkey and Hungary are yet to ratify Swedish membership.
During his address, Erdogan said Sunday that Turkey "no longer expects anything from the European Union, which has kept us waiting at its door for 40 years," according to Barron's.
"We have kept all the promises we have made to the EU, but they have kept almost none of theirs," he said.
The remarks come after the European Court of Human Rights ruled last week that the rights of a Turkish teacher convicted of what prosecutors called terrorism offenses had been violated because the case was largely based on his use of a phone app. The court said its ruling could apply to thousands of people convicted following an attempted coup in Turkey in 2016 after the prosecution presented use of the ByLock encrypted messaging app as evidence of a crime.
Ankara has blamed the coup on the followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan. Turkey has listed Gulen’s movement, known as FETO, as a terrorist organization. Gulen denies any involvement in the failed putsch.
The "decision of the ECHR was the straw that broke the camel's back," Erdogan reportedly said Sunday. "[Turkey] will not turn back in its fight against this band of traitors."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.