After a suicide attack near a Turkish government building that rocked Ankara on Sunday, the Recep Tayyip Erdogan-led regime carried out retaliatory airstrikes on suspected Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq on the same day, according to Turkey's Defence Ministry.
The Ministry said that around 20 targets of the proscribed terrorist group - Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - were destroyed in the aerial operation and a large number of the group's operatives were "neutralised" in the strikes. Notably, PKK claimed responsibility for Sunday's suicide attack near the Interior Ministry, in which a second attacker was killed in a shootout with the police.
The PKK maintains bases in the northern part of Iraq and is outlawed in Turkey. One of the attackers involved in the suicide attack was identified as part of the group while efforts to identify the second one are currently underway.
Two police officers were slightly injured during the attack near the Parliament building. The bombing took place hours before the Turkish Parliament was due to reopen after a three-month summer recess with an address by Turkish President Erdogan.
Erdogan terms the attack as the "last stand of terrorism"
Turkey's Interior Affairs Minister Ali Yerlikaya said that the two “terrorists” came with a light commercial vehicle in front of the entrance gate of the General Directorate of Security of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and carried out a bomb attack.
“One of the terrorists blew himself up and the other terrorist was neutralised. During the fire, 2 of our police officers were slightly injured. I wish a speedy recovery to our heroes,” he posted on social media platform X.
The footage from a security camera showed visuals of the “terrorist attack”. The explosion was so powerful that it was heard several kilometres away from the spot of the incident. Police recovered plastic explosives, hand grenades and a rocket launcher at the site, according to a ministry statement.
In his scheduled address in the Turkish Parliament, Erdogan said that the attack was "the last stand of terrorism". "The scoundrels who targeted the peace and security of the citizens could not achieve their goals and they never will," he added.
Turkey has conducted several cross-border offensives against the PKK in northern Iraq. It has also launched incursions into northern Syria since 2016 to drive away the Islamic State group and a Kurdish militia group known as YPG, which controls some parts of the area.
The YPG is largely considered as an extension of the PKK, which has been listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The insurgent wars waged by the PKK against Turkey have claimed tens and thousands of lives.
The PKK and YPG were alleged to be responsible for a bomb attack at a crowded pedestrian avenue in Istanbul in November last year, killing six people and injuring dozens.
(with inputs from AP)