Attackers carry out blast in the heart of Turkish capital

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya says one of the two attackers blew himself up in front of the ministry building in Ankara.

Ankara blast
Al Jazeera correspondent Sinem Koseoglu says it is too early to say who might be behind the attack [Halil Sagirkaya/Anadolu]

A suicide bomber has detonated an explosive device in front of the ministry building in the Turkish capital Ankara, wounding two police officers, according to the country’s interior minister.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that the “terrorists” will never achieve their aims, a few hours after an attack near the country’s parliament in Ankara.

“The villains who threaten the peace and security of citizens have not achieved their objectives and will never achieve them,” he said as the parliament opened after summer recess.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said two attackers were responsible for the explosions in front of the Ministry of Interior building. One of them blew himself and the other was “neutralised”, the minister said.

The blast was followed by gunfire outside the Ministry of Interior and parliament buildings. There have also been reports of a rocket being launched.

Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said the explosion took place at about 9:30am (06:30 GMT).


“The security has been tightened around the parliament building and around the Interior Ministry building that are in close proximity.”

She said the attack came hours before the parliament was set to resume after its summer break.

Koseoglu said it was too early to say who might be behind the attack.

The attack comes as Turkish authorities have been carrying out operations against ISIL (ISIS) members. This is the first attack since October 2015, when an ISIL assault in front of a central station in Ankara killed 109 people.

Authorities said Saturday that multiple suspicious packages and bags were found around the area of the attack and are being detonated by experts in a controlled manner, which has resulted in two loud blasts being heard in the area.

Al Jazeera correspondent Resul Serdar pointed out that CCTV footage of the attack shows how the street was empty when the attack occurred, whereas it may have been full of pedestrians at another time.

“You can see that their motivation is to directly target the Ministry of Interior rather than harming civilians,” he said.

Serdar said this was a planned and “sophisticated” attack because the vehicle that was used by the attackers was registered in the neighbouring city of Kayseri, with some reports suggesting the perpetrators murdered a person there and took their car.

Ahmet Keser, a retired Turkish army colonel and head of Political Science and International Relations at Hasan Kayloncu University, said this was “a very well-organised terrorist incident”.

He told Al Jazeera that the attackers planned the time to coincide with a ceremony at the parliament to mark the opening of the new parliamentary year.

“This might be a kind of incident to try to affect the decision of the parliamentarians as well,” Kayloncu said, in reference to an expected vote on Sweden’s accession to NATO.

A judicial investigation has been launched into the attack, according to Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc.

“These attacks will in no way hinder Turkey’s fight against terrorism. Our fight against terrorism will continue even more decisively. Let no one have any doubt about this,” Tunc said in a post on social media platform X, which is formerly known as Twitter.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Turkey’s main opposition leader, condemned the “terrorist attack” and vowed that Turkey would be united in fighting any such assaults from any source.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies