37 more alleged PKK members detained in connection to Ankara suicide bombing

Members of Turkish Police Special Forces secure the area near the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, on October 1, 2023, leaving two police officers injured. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)

Turkish security forces have detained 37 more people with alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in connection to a suicide attack in Ankara on Sunday, Turkish Minute reported, citing an announcement by Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya.

The minister said on his X social media account on Wednesday that 37 members of the “separatist terrorist organization,” a reference to the PKK, have been detained in operations across 15 provinces, while two others were “rendered ineffective” as they were attempting to flee the country from the border in the eastern province of Ağrı.

The detentions took place as part of the “Heroes Operation” launched by Turkey following the attack in Ankara, which left two police officers slightly injured. Dozens of alleged PKK members have been detained as part of the operation so far.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, claimed responsibility for the attack that took place outside the interior ministry. The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Attackers identified

Meanwhile, the interior ministry has announced that both attackers have been identified based on their DNA samples as PKK members Hasan Oğuz and Özkan Şahin.

One of the attackers blew himself up while the other was killed by the police before he was able to stage his attack on Sunday.

The PKK attack coincided with the opening of a new session of the Turkish parliament during which lawmakers will be asked to ratify Sweden’s membership in the NATO defense alliance.

Turkey’s ratification has been held up by anger over the refusal by the Swedish police to ban marches by the PKK and their supporters in Stockholm.

Some analysts believe the PKK may be trying to block Turkey’s ratification because it would herald an improvement in Ankara’s tense ties with Washington.

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