Suicide bombing at U.S. Embassy in Turkey kills 2
By Ali Abaday
Published: Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 7:06 a.m.
ISTANBUL — A suicide bomb attack at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on Friday killed a security guard and wounded several people in what the White House called an act of terror.
The explosion, which also killed the attacker, occurred at an entrance used by embassy personnel and their visitors. Mustafa Akarsu, 36, a Turkish security guard stationed at an X-ray machine there, was killed, and several embassy personnel inside were wounded by flying glass as the building sustained significant damage.
A former broadcast journalist, Didem Tuncay, 38, was injured while waiting to enter the embassy, and two guards had minor wounds.
Turkish officials identified the attacker as Ecevit Sanli, 40, a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front. Designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the group has claimed responsibility for assassinations and bombings across Turkey since the 1970s.
Sanli had served prison time for attacking a military guest house in Istanbul with a flame thrower, according to reports from police and government agencies.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said a man detonated a suicide vest at the checkpoint on the outer perimeter of the embassy compound.
“He came to this first point of access to the compound ... where you have to have your ID checked; you have to go through security,” Nuland said.
The guard who was killed was standing outside the checkpoint, while the two wounded guards were standing in a more protected area, Interior Minister Muammer Guler said.
“The level of security protection at our facility in Ankara ensured that there were not significantly more deaths and injuries than there could have been,” Nuland said.
The attack drew condemnation from officials in Turkey, the United States, Britain and other nations who pledged to work together to fight terrorism.
“A suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is by definition an act of terror,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “It is a terrorist attack.”
Carney said the U.S. government could not say what the motive was for the attack or who was behind it.
Hillary Clinton, in her farewell speech to State Department staff shortly after she formally resigned on Friday as secretary of State, said, “We were attacked and lost one of our foreign service nationals.”
Former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who was sworn in as incoming secretary of State, was briefed on the attack.
The embassy released a statement on its website thanking “the Turkish Government, the media, and members of the public for their expressions of solidarity and outrage over the incident.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack demonstrated a need for international cooperation against terrorism and was aimed at disturbing Turkey's “peace and prosperity.”
“But we will stand firm, and we will overcome this together,” he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking to reporters during a visit to Belgrade, Serbia, said he was saddened that the attack occurred in Turkey.
“We have always shown great sensitivity to the protection of foreign missions, and we will continue to do so,” Davutoglu said.
Members of Turkey's leading opposition group, the Republican People's Party (CHP), denounced the attack.
The embassy is near the Turkish Parliament on what is considered the most secure street in the capital, with many government and civilian security guards on duty around the clock. The embassies of Germany and France are nearby.
Witnesses said police were stopping people on the street outside of several nearby bars to check for identification before the attack.
Homegrown Islamic militants tied to al-Qaida have previously carried out suicide bombings in Istanbul, Turkey's bustling commercial center. In a 2003 attack on the British consulate, a suspected Islamic militant rammed an explosive-laden pickup truck into the main gate, killing 58 people, including the British consul-general.
In 2008, an attack blamed on al-Qaida-affiliated militants outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul killed three assailants and three police officers.
Ali Abaday is a special correspondentfor Trib Total Media. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Pittsburgh police to tear up parking tickets written ‘erroneously’
- Small plane crashes at Washington County Airport
- Pittsburgh’s Rubber Duck to be redeployed to Norfolk
- URA nears consultant deal to analyze Produce Terminal options
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Crosby lifts Penguins over Capitals in last game of road trip
- Woman sues UPMC over pregnancy drug test
- Pittsburgh council introduces resolution to pay Rocco’s vet bills
- Ordinance requires Pittsburgh government to publish data online