Two days before the deadly blast in Ankara, the US embassy in Turkey issued a security warning to US citizens about the threat of a terrorist attack in the Turkish capital.
The notice was published on March 11 on the website of the US Embassy in Turkey.
At least 37 people were killed and 125 injured in a car bomb explosion on Sunday
The American embassy had warned on its website about a “potential plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing in the Bahcelievler neighborhood,” in Çankaya District, where the Turkish National Library is located among other landmarks. “US citizens should avoid this area,” the embassy stated.
“We advise US citizens to review their personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings and local events, monitor local news stations for updates, and follow local authority instructions,” it added on Friday.
The Sunday blast, the second attack in the administrative heart of the city in under a month, occurred near Guven Park and Kizilay Square, several kilometers from Bahcelievler. The site of the explosion is close to the Justice and Interior Ministries, a top courthouse, and the former office of the country’s prime minister. The blast, which could be heard several kilometres away, appears to have been triggered by a car exploding near a bus stop, Turkish broadcaster TRT reported, adding that the site is a major transportation hub.
“It’s a car bomb, [it happened] in the heart of Ankara… and today is Sunday, many people may be outside,” Turkish journalist Onur Burcak Belli told RT by phone, adding that the scene of the blast is “very close to a shopping mall.”
While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, two senior security officials told Reuters that the initial findings suggested that members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or an affiliated group were responsible. The PKK has been waging an armed struggle for Kurdish autonomy since 1984.