Turkish warplanes strike northern Iraq after Ankara bombing blamed on Kurdish militants
ANKARA – Turkish warplanes struck against Kurdish militant camps in northern Iraq after 37 people were killed in an Ankara car bombing that security officials said involved a female fighter of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Sunday’s attack, tearing through a crowded transport hub a few hundred metres (yards) from the Justice and Interior Ministries, was the second such strike at the administrative heart of the Turkish capital in under a month.
Security officials told Reuters a female member of the outlawed PKK, which has fought a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey’s southeast, was one of two suspected perpetrators. A police source said her severed hand had been found 300 metres from the blast site.
Evidence had been obtained that suggested she was born in 1992, was from the eastern city of Kars near the Armenian border, and had joined the militant group in 2013, they said.
Violence has spiralled in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast since a 2-1/2 year ceasefire with the PKK collapsed in July. The militants have so far largely focused their strikes on security forces in southeastern towns, many of which have been under curfew.
But attacks in Ankara and in Istanbul over the last year, and the activity of Islamic State as well as Kurdish fighters, have raised concerns among NATO allies who see Turkey’s stability as vital to containing violence in neighbouring Syria and Iraq. President Tayyip Erdogan is also eager to dispel any notion he is struggling to maintain security.
“With the power of our state and wisdom of our people, we will dig up the roots of this terror network which targets our unity and peace,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter. -Reuters