1 February 2013, 21:06

Ankara blast – any connection to Syria?

Ankara blast – any connection to Syria?

A blast rocked the US Embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara Friday, killing two people and injuring another two. Who is behind the attack and was it a political message? Experts wrangle over the issue.

Turkey’s former Deputy Prime and Finance Minister Dr.Abdullatif Sener who now leads the Turkey Party discussed the issue with the Voice of Russia.

"Any attack is a crime against humanity as it results in civilian deaths. Today number one goal for the global community is to fight terrorism and I regard the Ankara blast from this point of view.

Who masterminded the blast is also important but here we should look at Turkey’s policy on Syria.

I have always opposed the current course on Syria, especially the presence of Al-Qaeda in the region. As you know, the Syrian opposition mainly comprises foreign mercenaries. They kill Syrians and abuse their rights.

Some data say the conflict death toll is about 60,000 Syrians and terrorist factions are the ones to blame.

Turkey is making a serious mistake supporting the Syrian opposition as it opens the door to Al-Qaeda. Some say 15,000-20,000 Al-Qaeda militants are already near the Turkish border and regularly cross it back and forth. Al-Qaeda has no claims to Turkey now but what if they emerge? Even one Al-Qaeda militant is a risk so it’s not in Turkey’s interests to pursue a policy multiplying terrorists in the region.

The US Embassy attack is linked to Al-Qaeda especially after the media had reported about Bin Laden’s son in law Suleyman being captured in Ankara by Turkish and CIA agents.

We need to understand that though the attack targeted a US Embassy, this Embassy was located in Ankara so Turkey needs to draw a lesson and undertake certain security measures."

Blast in Ankara, who’s to blame?

Two people including a security guard were killed in a blast outside the US embassy in Ankara on Friday, local television reported, amid speculation it was a suicide attack. VOR's Barbaros Devecloglu is in Turkey - with the latest on what happened.

Two people died in the blast. One of them, actually, a security personnel and the other, it is not confirmed – but, probably, the bomber. The bomber is also not confirmed because there are some other reports, one from the British Embassy, they said it’s not a bomber, but a package was thrown towards the Security Hut so those are unconfirmed reports about the blasts. We all know that two people certainly died because of the blast, probably, one of them was a bomber. One person was heavily wounded, and others wounded but we don’t know yet how serious because there are many ambulances on the scene and not that much information is coming from that area.

So we are not certain, whether it was somebody who had thrown a bomb towards the building or it was a suicide bomber?

Well, most of the reports, actually, indicate it was a suicide bomber but Hurriyet daily paper reported the British Embassy said it was not a suicide bomber but someone throwing or leaving a package where the blast happened.

Now, this is in a diplomatic part of the city, it’s said to be the US Embassy that was targeted. Are these explosions very common?

Well, they’re not. The US Embassy in Istanbul, actually, was targeted, another attempt occurred a couple of years ago, maybe more than a couple of years. In 2004, big attacks happened - a suicide bomber attacked the British Embassy and other - HSBC bank in Istanbul. This is, actually, the first incident of this kind.

Nobody has claimed responsibility, as I understand. Is there speculation as to what groups may be disgruntled and may want to target the US?

The first speculation is, obviously, Al-Qaeda. There is no other speculation yet, no other reports yet. An interesting report came out today from one of the biggest daily newspapers in Turkey, Milliyet, that a close relative of Osama bin Laden was actually captured in Ankara a month ago. And it was not known to the press till yesterday.

And as you mentioned there was a big attack in Ankara a few years ago that was blamed on a lone suicide bomber so there could be a lot of speculations on the next day or two, I suppose. We have the Kurdish separatists, the left Islamist militants as well. We don’t know for certain which group could be responsible, do we?

We don’t know yet. Nobody claimed any responsibility. Until there is some official report or official explanation we can only speculate about it. But there is one speculation right now- it’s about Al-Qaeda.

And finally – what impact you think this might have on the city of Ankara and the reaction within Turkey itself. Would Turkey feel it is under threat? Under siege perhaps or not?

It makes everybody nervous, feel insecure about the future. These days, because of the geopolitics around Turkey and Middle East everything is in such a big mess. Nobody knows what is going to happen next and this sort of attacks makes everybody feel uncertain about the future-that’s the outcome, I guess.

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