Turkish police in an overnight operation detained dozens of people across the country suspected of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday, two days after a suicide bombing in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Sunday that injured two police officers.
On Sunday two attackers detonated a bomb near government buildings in Ankara, killing them both and wounding two police officers.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, claimed responsibility for the attack that took place outside the interior ministry. The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Turkey subsequently carried out airstrikes on militant targets in northern Iraq and detained suspects in İstanbul overnight, hours after the PKK claimed responsibility.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said security forces had detained 67 “terrorist organization members” across 16 provinces.
BTÖ’YE YÖNELİK TÜM TÜRKİYE’DE BAŞLATILAN “KAHRAMANLAR” OPERASYONLARI KAPSAMINDA; MERSİN, VAN, ŞANLIURFA, MARDİN VE AYDIN’DA 1️⃣2️⃣ ŞÜPHELİ TERÖR ÖRGÜTÜ ÜYESİ YAKALANDI❗️
BTÖ’NÜN İSTİHBARAT YAPILANMASINA YÖNELİK ŞANLIURFA MERKEZLİ MARDİN, DİYARBAKIR, GAZİANTEP, MERSİN, ŞIRNAK,… pic.twitter.com/GFXcg7mvBa
— Ali Yerlikaya (@AliYerlikaya) October 3, 2023
The PKK attack coincided with the opening of a new session of the Turkish parliament during which lawmakers will be asked to ratify Sweden’s membership in the NATO defense alliance.
Turkey’s ratification has been held up by anger over the refusal by the Swedish police to ban marches by the PKK and their supporters in Stockholm.
Some analysts believe the PKK may be trying to block Turkey’s ratification because it would herald an improvement in Ankara’s tense ties with Washington.
Turkey is also trying to get the United States to drop its support for Kurdish fighters from the YPG group in Syria — a policy shift Ankara may expect in return for its ratification.
Washington relied on the YPG to fight Islamic State group Islamists in the region.
But Ankara views the YPG as a sister organization of the PKK.