February 2016 Ankara bombing

The February 2016 Ankara bombing killed at least 30 people and injured 60 in the capital of Turkey.[4] According to Turkish authorities, the attack targeted a convoy of vehicles carrying both civilian and military personnel working at the military headquarters during the evening rush hour[6] as the vehicles were stopped at traffic lights at an intersection with İsmet İnönü Boulevard close to Kızılay neighborhood. Several ministries, the headquarters of the army and the Turkish Parliament are located in the neighbourhood where the attack occurred.[7][8][9] The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) took responsibility for the attack and said they targeted security forces.[10][11] Censorship monitoring organization Turkey Blocks reported nationwide internet restrictions beginning approximately one hour after the blast pursuant to an administrative order.[12][13][14] The attack killed 14 military personnel, 14 civilian employees of the military, and a civilian (as well as the perpetrator).

February 2016 Ankara bombing
Part of Kurdish–Turkish conflict (2015–present)
LocationAnkara, Turkey
Coordinates39.9154°N 32.8406°E / 39.9154; 32.8406
Date17 February 2016
18:31 (UTC+2)
TargetMilitary personnel
Attack type
Car bombing, suicide bombing
Deaths14 civilian employees of Turkish Armed Forces
14 soldiers
1 civilian
1 perpetrator
Total: 30[1][2][3]
PerpetratorAbdulbaki Sömer[5]
Kurdistan Freedom Hawks


In October 2015, a bombing at a peace rally in Ankara against a crackdown on Kurds in the country amidst the renewed PKK rebellion following a breakdown of the ceasefire killed over 100 people. On 13 February, Turkish shelling of Kurdish positions in response to "incoming Kurdish fire" and against the backdrop of YPG territorial gains in northern Syria[15][16] led, at the request of Russia, to a UN briefing in which the president of the United Nations Security Council Rafael Carreno said that all members during the closed-door meeting expressed their concern at Turkey's actions and called on the country to "comply with international law".[17][18]

Following the UNSC vote and just hours before the bombing, Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, referred to PYD as a "terrorist organisation" akin to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), DHKP-C and Al-Nusra Front and stressed that the attacks against PYD's armed wing, YPG, will continue until it stops alleged threats against Turkey's national security.[19]


Location where the attack occurred
Merasim Street

A car bomb detonated at 18:31 local time, while army buses carrying military personnel were waiting at traffic lights.[10][20][21] The attack site was next to a residential block for high-ranking military personnel.[citation needed] Some Turkish news channels showed images of a raging fire that engulfed military vehicles after the explosion, heard several kilometres away.[22][23]


At least 30 people, including the perpetrator, died and 60 were injured as a result of the blast. The initial dead included the perpetrator, 12 soldiers, 16 civilian employees of the military and a journalist.[24] Another civilian died from his wounds in hospital on 23 February 2016.[25] A list of the first dead was published on 18 February.[26]


Initially, Turkish government declared the name of assailant as Salih Necar, a Syrian Kurd who was trained by YPG, PKK and Syrian government.[27] Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) claimed responsibility and named the suicide bomber as Abdülbaki Sönmez and released a photo of him, which was later claimed to be an edited image of a Turkish blogger.[11][28][29][30][31][32]

Later, DNA reports confirmed that perpetrator was Turkish-born Abdulbaki Sönmez, not Syrian-born Salih Necar who was shown as perpetrator to the world by Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Also, Syrian Kurdish authorities announced that a person named Salih Necar from Hasakah doesn't exist.[5][33][34][35]

After DNA reports Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Numan Kurtulmuş said that "the name of the perpetrator may be different but it does not change the reality of this matter. This person has entered Turkey from the PYD region and there is record of him assuming the given identity.".[36] Turkish government is claiming that YPG, taking orders from PKK, is responsible from the massacre, and TAK is used as a way to "exonerate" the YPG.[37] Turkish government is also worried about NATO allies of support of YPG, prime minister Davutoğlu said “We cannot excuse any NATO ally, including the US, of having links with a terrorist organisation [YPG] that strikes us in the heart of Turkey”.[38]

Turkish authorities claimed that the perpetrator was trained as a suicide bomber in Syrian Rojava by YPG and entered Turkey as a refugee. Turkey claims that the attack was planned by the YPG, PKK, PYD and the Syrian government.[39][40]

The suicide bomber was eventually confirmed as Abdülbaki Sönmez, a citizen of Turkey.


Thousands at protests all over Turkey


Attack shared by social media users post pictures

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a statement. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu cancelled planned trips to Belgium and Azerbaijan following the attack.[6][41] Spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party Ömer Çelik said he condemned the attacks.[6] Erdogan vowed retaliation against the perpetrators of the attack while Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş called it an attack on the "nation as a whole".[42]

Oppositional Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş condemned the bombing as a "merciless attack" and wished "God’s mercy upon those who lost their lives".[43] The Turkish Parliament failed to make a unanimous declaration. The pro-Kurdish and pro-minority HDP party condemned the bombing, with parliamentary chair İdris Baluken referring to it as a "loathsome attack"; the party disagreed with the unilaterally drafted text. The declaration was finally released by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and opposition CHP and MHP parties.[44]


An EU summit in Brussels that was to focus on the issues of migrants was cancelled following the bombing.[45] World leaders, including those from Germany, the United Kingdom and United States condemned the attack.[46] In a joint statement, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, termed the bombing "a terrible attack".[46] NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the attack.[46]


  •  Finland: Prime Minister Juha Sipilä stated "We strongly condemn the terrorist attack in Ankara, Turkey. Our condolences to the families and friends of the victims." on Twitter.[47]
  •  Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement "I'm telling the Turkish people: we as Germans are sharing your pain", adding that "In the battle against those responsible for these inhuman acts we are on the side of Turkey."[48]
  •  Kosovo: President Atifete Jahjaga stated "Strongly condemn the heinous terrorist attack in #Ankara. Deepest condolences to families of victims and people of Turkey for the lost lives" on Twitter.
  •  United Kingdom: Richard Moore, British Ambassador to Turkey, offered his condolences through Twitter by stating that the "UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Turkey at this difficult time."[48]
  •  United States: John Bass, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, expressed his condolences through Twitter by stating that, "Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected."[48]
  •  Ukraine: Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated that "The Ukrainian Government and all the people express condolences to families of those killed and injured in terroristic act in Ankara" on Twitter.[49]

See also


  1. "Ankara'daki patlamada ölenlerin isim listesi". Haberturk. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  2. "Ankara'daki bombalı saldırıda 1 kişi daha hayatını kaybetti". Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  3. "Ankarada patlamada ölenlerin isimleri belli oldu, 28 ocağa ateş düştü (ankara patlama)". Archived from the original on 22 February 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  4. "Ankara'da askeri servis aracına bombalı saldırı". CNN Türk (in Turkish). 17 February 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  5. "Bombacının Abdulbaki Sömer olduğu kesinleşti". Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  6. Letsch, Constanze (17 February 2016). "Up to 28 killed by Ankara car bomb targeting military personnel". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  7. "Turkey's capital Ankara rocked by deadly explosion".
  8. "Ankara blast: Five dead after explosion in Turkish capital". BBC News.
  9. Jason Hanna and Hamdi Alkhshali (17 February 2016). "Explosion strikes Turkey's capital". CNN.
  10. "TSK: Saldırı trafik ışıklarında meydana geldi". NTV. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  11. Letsch, Constanze (19 February 2016). "Kurdish militant group Tak claims responsibility for Ankara car bomb". The Guardian. The Guardian.
  12. "Twitter and Facebook Restricted in Turkey following Ankara bombing". D8 News. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  13. "Turkey cracks down on Twitter and Facebook after deadly car bombing". The Daily Dot. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  14. Garza, Frida (17 February 2016). "A bombing in Turkey's capital has killed at least 28 people". Quartz. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  15. Karam and Soguel, Zeina and Dominique (14 February 2016). "Turkey shells Kurdish positions in Syria for 2nd day". AP. Washington Post.
  16. "Syria conflict: Turkey shells Kurdish militia". BBC. BBC. 13 February 2016.
  17. "UN Security Council concerned by Turkey's actions in Syria, says Venezuela". Today's Zaman. Today's Zaman. 16 February 2016. Archived from the original on 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  18. "The Latest: Syria accuses alliance of striking hospital". Washington Post. AP. 16 February 2016.
  19. "Erdoğan'dan "YPG'yi vurmaya devam" mesajı (Erdoğan's message stating attacks on YPG will continue)" (in Turkish). Al Jazeera (Turk). 17 February 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  20. "At Least 20 Killed in Ankara Car Bombing Targeting Military Personnel". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  21. "Car bomb targeting military buses kills 28 in Turkish capital Ankara". euronews. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  22. "Blast hits Ankara". Anadolu Agency.
  23. "At least five killed in huge explosion in car bomb attack in Ankara". TodaysZaman. 17 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
  24. "Erdogan says 'no doubt' Syrian Kurd fighters behind Ankara attack". Agence France-Presse. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  25. "Death toll in Ankara bombing increased to 29". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  26. "Şehitlerin kimlikleri belli oldu". ZAMAN. 18 February 2016. Archived from the original on 19 February 2016.
  27. "Pro-government daily identifies Ankara car bomb attacker as Syrian national". Today's Zaman. 18 February 2016. Archived from the original on 18 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  28. Dolan, David (19 February 2016). "Kurdish militant group TAK claims responsibility for Ankara bombing". Reuters. Reuters.
  29. KAPLAN, MICHAEL (19 February 2016). "Ankara Bombing Update: Kurdish Militant Group TAK Claims Responsibility For Attack". IBT.
  30. Piri Medya (19 February 2016). "YPG'yi photoshop yaptılar". Yeni Şafak.
  31. "Photoshop'la YPG'yi yaptılar". Star.com.tr.
  32. "Habertürk: Başsavcılık, Ankara saldırısını üstlenen TAK'ı yalanladı". t24.com.tr.
  33. "DNA report suggests Ankara bomber was Turkish: security official". Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  34. "Musa Sönmez: Fotoğraftaki Kişi Salih Neccar Değil, Oğlum Abdulbaki". Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  35. "Ankara blast: Turkey PM says Syria Kurds to blame". BBC News. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  36. http://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2016/02/24/pyd-involvement-in-ankara-bombing-unquestionable
  37. http://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2016/02/23/syrian-ypg-takes-orders-from-pkk-pm-davutoglu-says
  38. "A bombing in Ankara moves Turkey closer to a fight with Syria—and Russia". The Economist. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  39. Raziye Akkoc (18 February 2016). "Ankara bombing: Attacker is Syrian linked to Kurds and entered with refugees". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  40. Maayan Groisman (18 February 2016). "Turkey claims Ankara suicide bomber is a Syrian member of the Kurdish YPG". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
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  49. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Twitter official Ankara message 2016-02-17.