An ordinary day turns tragic for 28 victims and families
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULFeb 20, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Feb 20, 2016 12:00 am
After one of the worst terror attacks in Turkey's history hit the capital city last year and left 102 people dead, Ankara is once again grappling for answers after being the target of terrorism on Wednesday.
Near the headquarters of the Turkish military, army divisions, the Turkish General Staff and numerous other government agencies, Turkish soldiers and civil servants had just left their posts and settled in service vehicles for the evening ride home. As the buses lined up at a street intersection, a sports car came to a halt alongside them. The unidentified driver of the sports car detonated explosives inside the vehicle, causing the entire line of vehicles to be engulfed in flames. A scene of chaos erupted as fireballs exploded above the burning vehicles which were engulfed in the flames. The explosion was so strong, the windows of nearby military barracks were shattered.
The victims who survived the blast were either hit by pieces of shrapnel or sustained severe burns. Five people still remain in intensive care in Ankara hospitals, the Health Ministry said on Friday.
A fifty-year-old mother and civil servant for the Defense Ministry, Güner Altınok, was killed in the blast when the shuttle bus she was riding in exploded. İbrahim Baran, a noncommissioned officer and father of two, was also killed in the attack. He spoke with his mother just five minutes before the vehicle he was also riding in became an inferno. In a statement from Baran's family, news of an attack on military buses shortly after the phone conversation led family members on a frantic search of local hospitals in search for Baran. They eventually identified Baran's lifeless body in the emergency ward of a local hospital.
Thirty-three-year-old Gülşen Yıldız was an employee at Tarım (Agriculture) TV, a television station run by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The journalism graduate was hoping to join public broadcaster TRT and had applied for a job with the network just one week before the explosion. She was sitting near the window on a service shuttle of the ministry when the strong blast tore through the windows, forcing shards of glass into her head.
Sergeant Feyyaz İlhan, 25, was a member of the Signal Corps. According to a post on his Facebook account, İlhan was proud of "the brave men who left their children as orphans so that other children could survive," referringto his fellow soldiers who fight against the PKK; a terrorist organization whose affiliates are allegedly behind the Ankara bombing. The young soldier was buried in his hometown in the northwestern city of Bursa on Thursday as a large crowd of locals paid their respects to the sergeant alongside his parents and siblings, who wept as soldiers carried his coffin.
Ali Öztaş, 28, was the driver of one of the military buses hit by the blast. He was scheduled for discharge from the army in 73 days when he was killed. After the explosion, the home of the soldier's parents in the southern city of Adana was draped with large Turkish flags as friends and neighbors rushed to express their condolences to his grieving father and mother. Miyeser Öztaş said she spoke with her son almost every day on the phone. "I tried to call him again after I watched the news on television but couldn't reach him. I later learned that my little lamb died," she told reporters through her tears. "May those who tore him apart be torn apart," she said angrily.