Public condemns deadly embassy attack in Ankara
The terrorist attack is seen as an assault on democracy and Turkey's progress.
By Menekse Tokyay, J. Paul Barker and Ali Cifti for SES Türkiye in Istanbul and Urfa -- 02/02/13
Citizens throughout Turkey are condemning a suicide bomb attack that killed two people Friday (February 1st) at the US embassy in Ankara, and bitterly decried acts of terrorism that they said tear at the fabric of democracy.
"I consider terrorism as a crime against humanity and from now on all interested parties should develop new measures and much more deepen intelligence strength to fight against (it)," Seval Topcu, a young resident in Istanbul, told SES Türkiye. "Turkey is situated in a very fragile geography and as long as we become much more assertive in foreign relations concerning our neighbourhood, we will have friends and enemies at the same time."
Oğuz Alhan, a student and writer in Istanbul, agreed.
"Terrorists attack our churches, our mosques, our political parties' buildings, and even embassies. Terrorists don't want good things for our future. They want to break our relationships with some peoples and with some countries. İt's bad and these situations make us upset and sad," Alhan told SES Türkiye.
The blast occurred at a security checkpoint at an entrance used by embassy workers and their visitors, killing a security guard and the suicide bomber. The attacker was identified as 40-year-old Ecevit Sanli, who had spent five years in prison on terrorism charges. He had been a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).
At least two people were reportedly injured, including Didem Tuncay, a journalist with NTV, who was hospitalised with facial injuries. "Her vital organs are doing better but she's going to be kept in intensive care," said Dr. Nurullah Zengin, administrator at Numune hospital. “There's heavy trauma on the right side of her face.”
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said security forces were investigating and there would be no official government statement until the investigation was concluded. "We should work together in all areas of the world to fight extensions of terrorism," he said.
In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the attack strengthens the resolve of the US and Turkey to work together to counter threats of terrorism.
"A suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is, by definition, an act of terror. It is a terrorist attack," he said.
Sureyya Ersoy, former branch director of the Turkish Fulbright Commission in Istanbul, called the attack a criminal act. "The world is full of terrorists posing as freedom fighters. Everybody has to be on guard against similar attacks," Ersoy said.
Omer Yasarkus, who sells electrical items in Urfa, told SES Türkiye he is unable to understand why anyone would target civilians.
"What's the goal? Democracy won't come like this," he said." What and who is served by killing people who have committed no crime? You might not like a certain country or its policies, but this doesn’t give you the right to kill people. This incident needs to be brought to light at once."
Mutafa Arisut, publisher of Urfa's Silkroad Gazette newspaper, said the attack was unacceptable and an obstruction to society's development. Places like the US embassy, where civilians are present, must not be attacked, Arisut said.
"One person should not be held responsible for this. If the DHKP-C is responsible, the dark forces who gave the order need to be revealed," Arisut told SES Türkiye.
Serkan Kayaoglu, a computer programmer, said he thinks that the target of this attack is not just the US but also the positive developments that have been occurring in Turkey.
"I think those attackers wanted to use the US symbol to create a tension in both international and national sphere to gain time and to deadlock some domestic developments like new constitituon, negotiations towards resolving Kurdish issue," Kayaoglu told SES Türkiye. "All they want is to bring much more instability to the region and thereby to block the resolution of some key problems."
He added: "But, one thing is clear: these are people who are against the principles defended by Turkey and the Western countries, symbolised under the US Embassy."