Turkey is to introduce new national security measures, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday, in the wake of a suicide car bombing in Ankara that killed 28 people.
“We are going for changes in the matter of security,” Davutoglu said after a five-hour meeting in the capital with security chiefs, saying an anti-terror “action plan” was being prepared.
The premier said that as part of the new plan more security forces would be deployed and their presence would become “more visible,” but he also called on citizens to do their part. “Terrorist groups aim to cause trauma and chaos among the population. We must all assist the security forces,” he said. “No security efforts can succeed without the support of the people.”
Davutoglu also rejected a Kurdish militant group’s claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s attack in Ankara, which targeted a military convoy.
The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), who have been linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said the attack was revenge for operations by the Turkish military in the southeast of the country. But the Turkish government insists that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia were behind the attack, in a joint operation with the Workers’ Party.
“It has been very clearly determined that this attack was the work of the PKK-YPG,” Davutoglu said.
The Protection Units and the Union Party deny accusations from Ankara that they are branches of the Workers’ Party and have rejected having any involvement in the attack. The prime minister added that 22 suspects had been detained over the bombing.
Turkey’s assertions that Syrian Kurdish fighters are to blame for the deadly blast have been greeted with skepticism from the United States, causing a rare and increasingly acrimonious split between the key NATO allies.
Davutoglu on Saturday again criticized U.S. support for Kurdish fighters in Syria, and appealed to Washington to “show solidarity with Turkey in its fight against terrorism.” He added however that he hoped the two NATO members would still be able to find common ground.
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, urging both the Ankara government and Kurdish Protection Units forces to “show reciprocal restraint” in northern Syria.
Turkey has been firing artillery rounds into Syria’s northern Aleppo province for the last week, in a bid to stem the advances of a Kurdish-led coalition there that has seized territory from rebels. Turkey fears the Kurds are trying to unite several Kurdish-majority regions in north and northeastern Syria to create a contiguous zone on the border.