The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday held a high level emergency security meeting at the presidential palace in the capital Ankara that was attended by the Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, a number of ministers and the heads of the security services.
The meeting came after a similar meeting was chaired by Erdogan in Istanbul last Sunday after terrorist bombings occurred there on Saturday night near the Besiktas football stadium. The attacks caused the deaths of 44 people including 37 police men and left 149 wounded.
Sources who are informed about the meeting which was held behind closed doors and lasted for several hours said that terrorist attacks in the country were discussed. Recent developments in Syria and Iraq, particularly the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo, were also discussed.
The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a group that is close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), claimed responsibility for the blasts which rocked Istanbul on Saturday night. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusogluv said in a television interview on Wednesday night that one of the perpetrators of the attacks came from Syria.
Cavusogluv said “We are always telling our counterparts that we are receiving this threat. And now, we see that the Besiktas bomber also came from Syria”. The first of the two attacks occurred when a car bomb exploded and the second was carried out by a suicide bomber who blew himself up 45 seconds later.
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a national mobilisation against terrorism on Wednesday and said that “the terrorist attacks that the country is seeing not only target the security forces or a certain faction, but are aimed at all members of the Turkish nation and threaten the security and stability of Turkey. Everyone should therefore support the state in the fight against all forms of terrorism that threaten the security of the country. In my capacity as the head of the state, I declare national mobilisation against all terrorist organisations.”
Leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Republican People’s Party and the Nationalist Movement Party announced their solidarity in the face of terrorism after a meeting that they attended at the Turkish presidential palace on Wednesday.
After the Istanbul bombings took place, representatives of the three parties (the AKP, the Republican People’s Party and the Nationalist Movement Party) signed a joint statement condemning the blasts whilst representatives of the Peoples’ Democratic Party abstained from signing the statement.
Meanwhile, the Turkish army has arrested 16 foreigners of different nationalities who belonged to the terrorist organisation ISIS in the province of Sanlurfa which is situated in the south of the country.