The original target of the two suicide bombings that took place at a peace rally in Ankara was the headquarters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency said Wednesday, citing “intelligence experts.”
The unnamed terror and intelligence experts said the bombers decided to change their target after they learned of the Oct. 10 rally. The HDP was one of its chief organizers, with many of its top officials in attendance.According to Anadolu Agency, a large amount of ammonium nitrate found in one of the suspect’s homes was destined for an attack on the HDP Ankara headquarters.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, in charge of investigating the twin bombings in the Turkish capital, said Monday that since the bombing 2,500 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, used in the making of explosives and suicide-bomber vests, were discovered in cell houses in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.
Citing its anonymous sources, Andalou Agency claimed that 11,000 Turkish Liras (about US$3,000) were used to buy a truck that would have been filled with the explosives and left on a side street near the HDP main building in the capital.
After a weeks-long media gag order against reporting on the bombings was lifted Tuesday, the government confirmed that one of the bombers was Yunus Emre Alagoz, the wanted-brother of another Islamic State group bomber, Seyh Abdurrahman Alagoz. The latter carried out the July 20 suicide bombing in the southern Turkish city of Suruc, where 34 people were killed as they were gathering for a socialist anti-war meeting.
So far, 20 suspects have been identified in the Ankara bombing and, according to the city prosecutor’s office, some confessed that they were planning, with grenades found at cells in Gaziantep, an attack against HDP co-chair Figen Yuksekdag. Nine of the suspects, identified as Islamic State group members, are on the run.
Meanwhile, local daily Cumhuriyet reported Wednesday that two suicide bombers planned to target an HDP election rally that would have been held in Gaziantep on Oct. 18, where Yuksekdag was due to address the public. The rally did not take place as the HDP decided to cancel all its planned campaign rallies on Oct. 15.
The target at the Ankara peace rally included ESP, the group bombed in Suruc. ESP linked to HDP through Figen Yuksekdag, HDP co-chair #PT— Aaron Stein (@aaronstein1) October 11, 201
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had said that the extremist Islamic State group and the leftist Kurdistan's Workers' Party, or the PKK, were possible collaborators in the Ankara bombings, despite dramatic political and ideological differences. However, in recent days the prime minister retracted those comments.
“The security of all parties and their activities are under the assurance of the government. The Ankara attack or other attacks were not aimed at any single political party, rather they are aimed at Turkey’s unity,” Davutoglu said Wednesday when asked about the HDP being the attackers' original target.