A car bomb explosion terrorized a city square in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Sunday, March 13, 2016, leaving many victims dead or seriously injured.
The explosion killed at least 34 civilians and left 125 injured, totaling 159 casualties and counting. The bomb went off near a bus stop in a park where the attack could catch a large circulation of people. Policemen, traffic workers, regular citizens, and transportation workers fell victim to the blast.
After the explosion calmed down, firefighters, law enforcement, and medical response teams arrived in waves to the city square. The Turkish government also sent a security detail to evacuate the area and surround the perimeter as a safety precaution.
A female suicide bomber and male accomplice were later revealed to be behind the attack. The crime lab is still waiting for results from a DNA test to confirm the identity of the male terrorist, but the female has already been identified.
Despite the growing behind-the-scenes information, the Turkish government refuses to disclose any further details regarding the two attacks until they have connected the attack to a specific terrorist network.
As of Monday, March 14, 2016, the Turkish government began thorough research into all possible suspects. Their biggest lead is the known terrorist group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Although the government is not entirely sure which organization was behind the attack, they have used this tragedy as an excuse for an extensive war on terror. Some people are optimistic about Turkey’s recent campaign to end terrorism.
Junior Pooja Sonikar said, “There are people in first-world countries that are so desensitized by the media that they forget that the violence and destruction from terrorism is real. It’s really important that people continue pushing for an end to these atrocities. I’m happy Turkey has remained strong in their fight against terror.”
So far, the Turkish government has rounded up and arrested 29 people in anti-terror raids. In particular, they detained four people in the southeastern city of Sanliurfa who have a connection to the vehicle used in the bombing. According to the police reports, the car used in the attack was purchased in Sanliurfa.
Outside of this particular investigation, the Turkish government has begun a larger war on terror. Officials ordered air raids in Iraq on Monday, March 14, 2016. Fighter jets flew over the country to target Kurdish separatists.
High-ranking political figures are determined to see the end of terror in Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised the people and nations around the world that the country would make a sincere effort to limit the violence within Turkey.
In a nationalistic and empowering statement, President Erdogan said, “Terror attacks — which intend to target the integrity of Turkey, unity and solidarity of our people — do not diminish our will to fight against terror, but further boost it.”
His attempts at vanquishing terrorism has resulted in the implementation of several new policies. In two different areas of southern Turkey, Erdogan ordered curfews as a result of rising terror rates and to preserve the safety of the people.
In addition to this, the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council ordered the immediate censorship and ban of images concerning the explosion. The Council also prohibited the release of information on social media, effectively shutting down social media platforms for several hours after the incident. The Turkish people are not strangers to this concept as social media has been banned in Turkey before.
While the Turkish people were locked out of popular websites, the rest of the world took to Twitter and Facebook to voice their opinions concerning the attack. Some offered well wishes, others passionately argued the need for better safety precautions and some spoke of previous terrorist attacks in Turkey. However, a lot of people made slanderous remarks about the Muslim faith after hearing about suspected PKK involvement, even though the group is a communist terrorist organization.
Junior Ariana Yousafzai said, “Calling all Muslims terrorists is just as bad as calling all African Americans criminals. As a Muslim, I can attest to the fact that Islam preaches peace, humility and kindness. The terrorists you see on the news are extremists who have twisted the religion, making it into something it isn’t.”
The upcoming week will be crucial in Turkey’s investigation of the terrorist network behind the Ankara attack. However, their war on terror will far outlast this particular tragedy.
How do you feel about the Ankara attack and Turkey’s war on terror?