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No public officials to stand trial due to role in 2015 Ankara bombings

Ankara bombing

People hold a banner showing photos of the suicide attack victims during a demonstration held to mark the seventh anniversary of the 2015 twin suicide bombings, in Ankara on October 10, 2022. - On October 10, 2015, over a hundred people were killed in twin explosions in Turkey's capital Ankara, targeting activists gathering for a peace rally organised by leftist and pro-Kurdish opposition groups. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)

An Ankara prosecutor has rendered a decision of non-prosecution regarding a complaint against public officials for their responsibility for the biggest terrorist attack in the history of the Turkish Republic, local media reported over the weekend.

The bombings that took place on Oct. 10, 2015 at the Ankara train station were the deadliest Turkey has ever experienced. The two blasts took place near the city’s central terminal as people from mainly leftist and pro-Kurdish groups gathered to stage a demonstration demanding peace and an end to an ongoing conflict between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government.

Two explosions went off as people were congregating in the square, killing 103 and injuring more than 500.

Erdoğan Tedik, who lost his son Korkmaz Tedik in the attack, filed the complaint against the public officials in connection with the bombings with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, accusing them of “abuse of public duty” and “destruction of evidence.”

The complaint was filed on behalf of the Confederation of Public Employees’ Trade Unions (KESK), the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architects Chambers (TMMOB), the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions (DISK) and those who were injured or lost their loved ones in the attack.

According to Turkish media reports, prosecutor Muammer Köseoğlu rendered a decision of non-prosecution regarding the application, citing a written response dated Jan. 31 regarding the allegations in a complaint by the counterterrorism branch of the Ankara Police Department.

The response, which included the measures taken on the day of the attack and information about the legal processes afterward, said there was no intelligence about the planned suicide bombing before Oct.10, 2015.

The last hearing in the trial took place on Aug. 3, 2018, with the Ankara 4th High Criminal Court handing down prison sentences to 18 people ranging from seven years to aggravated life.

Although government officials said the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was responsible for the bombings, victims’ families have demanded to know if the attack could have been prevented by the authorities.

Over seven years since the attack, none of the public officials who were found in a report drafted by the Interior Ministry to bear some responsibility for the attack have been put on trial.

A report drafted by the Interior Ministry revealed on Feb. 25, 2016 that some public officials bore some responsibility for the incident. According to the report, which was leaked to the media, intelligence that ISIL might stage an attack on gatherings by leftist and Kurdish groups in Ankara and other cities had been conveyed to the police. Moreover, the names of the train station bombers had also been mentioned several times in these intelligence notices.

The Ankara bombings took place in the period between June and November 2015, historically the most critical timeframe of the Turkish Republic that saw a series of terrorist attacks.

Some of the previous remarks of Ahmet Davutoğlu, former Turkish prime minister who parted ways with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and established the Future Party (GP) a few years ago, were interpreted as suggesting that some ruling party politicians had prior knowledge of the attacks or deliberately failed to prevent them so that an environment of chaos would take hold in the country, the public would be frightened and the AKP, which had lost its majority in a general election in June of that year, would be returned to power.

According to observers, public concern was diverted from the economy and authoritarian rule to national security, ultimately increasing public support for the AKP in November.

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