'PYD involvement in Ankara bombing unquestionable'

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
Published 24.02.2016 00:07
Updated 24.02.2016 01:01

After the deadly Ankara car bombing that left 28 people dead and more than 61 injured, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced the identity of the perpetrator as 24-year-old Saleh Nejar from Syria who has alleged links with the PKK and the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Despite the announcement, a PKK splinter group, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that Abdülbaki Sönmez, also known as "Zınar Reperin," carried out the attack. Media reported that sources from the prosecutor's office denied Sönmez's connection to the case, saying the claims are an attempt to shift blame away from the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) Peoples' Protection Units (YPG). After a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said that evidences show the terrorist's link to the PKK-affiliate PYD remains unchanged, regardless of his identity.

Shortly after the Ankara bombing, Davutoğlu declared that a link between the PKK, PYD and its YPG, was identified afterward when the perpetrator, believed to be a Syrian national, was identified through fingerprints that were taken when he entered the country. With intelligence units unable to make a positive identification of the fingerprints due to extensive burns on the fingers found at the scene, sources close to the security forces have said that forensic experts later discovered a severed right hand at the crime scene and were able to take a more accurate fingerprint comparison than the first. After making a positive identification with prints in the database of the government's immigration management office in Gaziantep, the suicide bomber was finally been identified as Saleh Nejar. But the PKK splinter group TAK terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attacks three days later, also claiming that the terrorist's name was Abdülbaki Sönmez and that he had joined the PKK in 2005 but has no convictions on record. As a result, a DNA test was conducted on the bomber, with columnist Tolga Şardan writing in the Milliyet daily that if the perpetrator is positively identified as Abdülbaki Sönmez, it will prove that he previously introduced himself to Gaziantep's immigration management office as a Syrian refugee – a new technique used by PKK members to avoid detection, according to Şardan.

Commenting on the ongoing investigations into the identity of the Ankara bomber after a nine-hour Cabinet meeting on Monday, Kurtulmuş said that the bomber would be cleared after a series of DNA tests and necessary legal proceedings are completed. He also said that the way the bombing was conducted leaves no doubt about which group is responsible for the attack. Emphasizing that the correct identity of the perpetrator will soon be determined upon completion of DNA testing, Kurtulmuş said: "The name [of the perpetrator] may be different but it does not change the reality of this matter. This person has entered Turkey from the PYD region and there is record of him assuming the given identity."

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