November 24, 2016
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A car bomb attack targeting a government building in southern Turkey killed at least two people and wounded 33 others Thursday, senior cabinet officials said. A suspect was later reported dead after a shootout with security forces.
Minister of European Union Affairs Omer Celik said police opened fire on a light utility vehicle believed to be carrying the person responsible for the attack in the city of Adana when the driver refused to stop.
“Ultimately, those who committed this heinous act will not get away with it,” Celik said. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported Thursday night that police removed the suspect’s body from the vehicle before dispatching a remote-controlled bomb disposal robot to defuse explosives still on board the vehicle.
The bombing outside the office of the governor of Adana province was the latest in a string of deadly attacks that have rocked Turkey for more than a year. The attacks have been carried out by Kurdish militants or the Islamic State group.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday’s attack. The car bomb was detonated remotely at the entrance to the Adana governor’s office, and the governor was the likely target, Celik said.
The governor, Mahmut Demirtas, said earlier that the attack was believed to have been carried out by a woman. Several cars in the parking lot caught fire after the blast, video footage showed. The blast also damaged the government building, Anadolu Agency said.
Some of the wounded were in serious condition, said Huseyin Sozlu, the mayor for the city. “The bomb that was detonated was a high-impact one,” he said. The European Union has expressed increasing disapproval of Turkey’s wide-ranging crackdown on critics and political opponents following a failed coup attempt in July, actions Ankara defends as part of an ongoing war on terror.
The EU Parliament on Thursday held a non-binding vote to freeze talks on Turkey’s bid to join the 28-nation bloc. Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus condemned the bombing and offered condolences on Twitter, adding: “Having become a target because it has disrupted the game being played in the region, Turkey will not yield to terrorism, it will continue its fight against terrorism with determination.”
As with previous attacks, Turkish authorities imposed a media ban, barring broadcast and publication of graphic images or information that might hinder the investigation. A statement by the United States Consulate urged all citizens to “avoid this area throughout the day, maintain a high level of vigilance, monitor local media for updates, and exercise caution if you are in the vicinity.”
American troops are stationed at the Incirlik Air Force base, roughly 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the city center. Incirlik serves as a base for aircraft involved in the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
Cinar Kiper reported from Istanbul