Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says the deadly twin blasts, which rocked the capital Ankara and killed dozens of people last week, is linked to the neighboring Syria, where the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has captured swathes of land up to the Turkish border.
“We received intelligence that there were some preparations for various attacks by entering our country. There is some intelligence that this has roots in Syria,” he said, speaking at a joint press conference with his visiting Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö in Ankara on Tuesday, the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News reported.
Erdoğan also admitted that there must have been some sort of security lapses that led to the explosions.
“There must undoubtedly be a mistake, a shortcoming in some place. Of what dimension? This will emerge after examinations,” he noted, adding, “If there’s any negligence of duty, then both the prime minister and related units will take steps needed. Nobody should doubt it.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Turkish president announced that he had ordered the State Supervisory Council, an inspection body attached to the Turkish presidency, to initiate a special investigation into the blasts and “to handle (the attack) from a different perspective”.
He added that Ankara was considering all options in its search for perpetrators, including Daesh and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). However, he warned that “some patience is needed” as DNA tests were being conducted on the remains of the two bombers.
Meanwhile, thousands of protesters filled the streets in several cities and towns across the country to condemn the deadly blasts, despite security officials’ ban on staging protest rallies.
In Ankara, police used tear gas to break up the crowd who tried to march in the city, while a group of student protesters staged a short sit-in at Ankara University’s faculty of political science to commemorate the victims.
On October 10, twin explosions targeted a number of activists who had convened outside Ankara’s main train station for a peace rally organized by leftist and pro-Kurdish opposition groups. The Turkish government says 97 died in the Ankara bombings, but the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) puts the death toll at 128.
Selahattin Demirtas, the HDP co-leader, said in the aftermath of the deadly incident, “There is nobody who has been designated as ‘responsible’ around. There is no effective investigation…This is not an attack against the unity of our state and nation. This is an attack by our nation against our people.”
The incident has escalated political tensions to new heights as Turkey prepares itself for a November 1 snap election, with a greater-than-ever polarization that has grown within the country.
Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) could not win a majority in the June parliamentary elections and failed to form a coalition government with the main opposition factions. This is the first time in Turkish history that a major party failed to convince the opposition to take part in a coalition government.