What went wrong in deadly Ankara bombing?

Details emerge of security measures taken for march in Turkey's capital Ankara targeted by deadly terror attack

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Oct 14, 2015

Following questions over the deadliest ever terror attack to strike Turkey, reports from Turkish authorities have shed light on security measures taken prior to the attack.

The attack, which took place near the Ankara train station on Saturday, claimed the lives of 97 people and officials confirm that 317 out of 508 of those who were injured have been discharged from the hospital.

A march organised by leftist labor unions was targeted by twin suicide bombers around 10:00 am when crowds had just started to gather in front of Ankara’s main train station, outside of the main area where the march was due to take place, Sihhiye Square.

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) and Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions (DISK) were among the organisers of the rally, calling for an end to the renewed conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and nearly ten other NGO’s announced their participation in what they called a “peace” rally.

Security checkpoints were set up by the police department near the main area where the demonstration was due to take place and a total of 2,044 police officers were on duty for the march - 10 percent of Ankara’s police force, Turkish authorities have said.

The site of the bombing was two and a half kilometers away from Sihhiye Square where the demonstration was planned to take place.

There were eight different security checkpoints set up in the entrance to the square where security forces did the necessary body searches.

One of the criticisms directed at the authorities regarded a perceived lack of security checkpoints set up in the vicinity.

Security sources said it was not physically possible to provide checkpoints across the city for each participating group since there were many entrances to the city for those coming from outside of the city. 

They also stated that they were not able to build barricades across every route that was taken by participant groups marching towards the square because the groups gathered at different points in the city and started walking from different routes, and no information was provided to security officials regarding each entrance by the organisers of the protest. 

However, security sources stressed that Sihhiye Square was surrounded with barricades.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday announced that ISIS was the prime suspect of the bombing, saying that officials are close to identifying the name of one of the suspects.

Some media outlets claimed on Monday that the authorities have actually identified both the suicide bombers, but not are disclosing the information at the moment.

 After the attack, opposition parties criticised the government, asking if the necessary security measures were taken.

HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas blamed the AK Party government for the attacks, fuelling anger among leftist groups against the government.

He described the incident which took place in Ankara as being part of the same campaign as the Diyarbakir bombing that took place on the eve of the June elections and the Suruc suicide bombing which occurred in July.

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People's’ Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu said, "I don’t want to accuse anyone directly, but is this how Turkey should be governed? Turkey, especially as a country that aspires to become a European Union member, does not deserve to be dragged into death and bloodshed.”

In response to the criticism, PM Davutoglu’s press director Cemalettin Hasimi said “In terms of security measures, we have taken every necessary measure that could be taken in that area but obviously when you have a terrorist affair people would ask whether the measures were adequate or not,  it's a tragedy for Turkish democracy - the criticism is unfair."

“Efforts to blame the government for a terrorist attack are counterproductive and meaningless. It’s like saying that the White House orchestrated 9/11 — no person in their own right would believe such claims.”

According to terrorism experts, the main object of the attack might have been to cause panic, raise distrust or terrorise the political arena.



TRTWorld, AA