Turkish warplanes launched airstrikes in Iraqi Kurdistan late Sunday after an explosion injured two police officers near the parliament building in Ankara earlier the same day.
In the hours after the bombing, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already vowed that “terrorists” would never achieve their goals.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated a terrorist group by Turkey and its Western allies, claimed responsibility for the explosion. The country has been waging a deadly insurgency against Ankara for forty years.
The district targeted by the bombings is home to several other ministries and the Turkish parliament, which reopened as planned in the afternoon with a speech by Erdogan.
“The villains who threaten the peace and security of citizens have not achieved their objectives and will never achieve them,” Erdogan said.
The Interior Ministry said two attackers arrived in a commercial vehicle at around 9:30 a.m. (06:30 GMT) in front of “the entrance gate of the Directorate General of Security of our Ministry of Interior and carried out a bomb attack.”
“One of the terrorists blew himself up,” Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya told reporters outside the ministry. “The other was killed by a bullet to the head before he had a chance to blow himself up.”
Two police officers were slightly injured in the shootout, but their lives were not in danger, he added.
Ankara’s prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation and banned access to the area. Local media were asked to stop broadcasting images from the scene of the attack.
Northern Iraq attacks
In a statement to the ANF news agency, which is close to the Kurdish movement, the PKK said “a sacrificial action was carried out against the Turkish Interior Ministry.”
On Sunday evening, an official in Iraqi Kurdistan reported that Turkish army planes are bombing parts of the Bradost region and the village of Badran.
The Turkish Defense Ministry acknowledged an “air operation” in northern Iraq to “neutralize the PKK.”
The ministry said “20 targets used by terrorists” had been destroyed.
In his opening speech, Erdogan also criticized the European Union for blocking his country’s membership, saying Turkey “no longer expects anything from the European Union, which has kept us waiting at the door for 40 years.”
“We have kept all the promises we made to the EU, but they have kept almost none of them,” he said, adding that he would “not tolerate any new demands or conditions” for his country’s entry into the bloc .
Sweden NATO bid
This session of the Turkish parliament must also ratify Sweden’s accession to the NATO alliance.
Hungary and Turkey lifted their vetoes against Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic alliance in July but have been slow to ratify membership.
Erdogan indicated in July that ratification by the Turkish parliament would not take place before October, but that ratification is expected to take place this parliamentary year.
Erdogan has been pressuring Sweden for months to take action against desecrations of the Koran that have strained relations between the two countries.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson quickly pledged in a statement that his country “reaffirms its commitment to long-term cooperation with Turkey in the fight against terrorism.”
Numerous foreign leaders also expressed support for Turkey following the attack, with messages of support from Germany, the United Kingdom and the US embassy in Ankara.
The Turkish capital has been the scene of several attacks, especially in 2015 and 2016, many of which were claimed by the PKK or Islamic State.
The PKK has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
In October 2015, an attack on a central station in Ankara, claimed by Islamic State, killed 109 people.
The most recent bomb attack in Turkey took place in a shopping street in Istanbul in November 2022, killing six and injuring 81.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)