The Terror Within

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Turkish authorities arrested scores of individuals suspected of having connections to the Kurdish militant organization responsible for Sunday’s suicide bombing attack on a government facility in the capital Ankara, the Financial Times reported.

Two suicide bombers attacked the country’s interior ministry, with one attacker blowing himself up while another was shot dead by police. Two officers were injured in the bombing.

A unit of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has conducted a violent insurgency in Turkey for decades, claimed responsibility for the attack.

In response, Turkish armed forces launched air raids on 20 PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group is based. Turkish officials confirmed that the arrested individuals include a provincial spokesperson and district presidents for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

By early Tuesday raids were carried out in 16 provinces across Turkey with at least 67 people arrested, of whom 55 were alleged by Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya as being part of the PKK’s “intelligence structure”, the Associated Press wrote.

Although the HDP has denied any links with the PKK, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the party of being the political wing of the Kurdish militant group.

Sunday’s attack coincided with the reconvening of parliament from its summer recess. It followed Turkey’s closely watched general elections in May, where security played a significant role in the campaigns, and where Erdogan’s rallies frequently highlighted his efforts against the PKK, the terror group Islamic State and the religious Gülen movement, which authorities say was behind the attempted coup of 2016.

The suicide attack also comes less than a year after a bombing in an Istanbul commercial district killed six people and injured dozens more. The Turkish government blamed Kurdish groups affiliated with the PKK for the explosion.

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