Erdogan says Turkey expects more counter-terrorism support from allies

Turkey's Interior Minister Yerlikaya speaks following bombing in Ankara

Turkey’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya speaks in front of the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, Turkey October 1, 2023. REUTERS/Cagla Gurdogan Acquire Licensing Rights

ISTANBUL, Oct 3 (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he expected concrete steps from allies in support of Turkey’s counter-terrorism fight after a weekend bomb attack in Ankara, for which a Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility.

Erdogan was speaking after Turkish police staged raids across the country on Tuesday, detaining dozens of suspects over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

“We want to see concrete steps from friends in addition to messages of condemnation,” Erdogan said at an opening ceremony of a Council of State facility in Ankara.

“They should know that statements that condemn terrorism and console us will not heal our wounds.”

Two assailants detonated a bomb near government buildings in Ankara on Sunday, wounding two police officers. Both attackers were killed.

The PKK, which is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, claimed responsibility for the attack, the first in the Turkish capital in years.

Turkey subsequently carried out air strikes on militant targets in northern Iraq and detained suspects in Istanbul on Monday, hours after the PKK made its claim of responsibility.

On Tuesday evening, Turkish air forces conducted fresh air strikes in northern Iraq and destroyed 16 targets consisting of caves, bunkers, shelters and depots used by the PKK, the defence ministry said.

It said many militants were “neutralised”, a term used to mean killed, without giving a number.

State-owned Anadolu news agency reported that about 90 people in 18 provinces across the country were detained on Tuesday over suspected links to the PKK.

Several members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which ran under the Green Left party banner in this year’s elections, were among those who have been detained, Green Left co-spokesperson Ibrahim Akin told a parliamentary meeting.

Separately, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said operations involving thousands of security personnel were carried out across the country targeting PKK “intelligence units”, with dozens arrested.

During operations nationwide targeting people in possession of illegal firearms a total of 928 people were detained, he said on messaging platform X.

Reporting by Burcu Karakas and Huseyin Hayatsever; Writing by Daren Butler; editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Ed Osmond, Mark Heinrich and Gareth Jones

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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