Turkish court charges 14 in connection with Ankara attack

Turkish court charges 14 in connection with Ankara attack
Turkey has charged 14 people of aiding a terror organisation, after dozens were killed last week in a car bombing targeting military personnel in Ankara.
2 min read
22 February, 2016
The bloodshed follows a string of attacks blamed on Islamist militants and Kurdish rebels [Getty]

A court in Turkey has charged 14 people in connection with last week's suicide car bombing in Ankara and ordered them jailed pending trial. Seven others were released without charge.

The group are suspected of aiding a terror organisation, forging official documents and fraud, although it wasn't immediately clear what part they had in the February 17 attack, which targeted buses carrying military personnel and killed 28 people.

A Turkey-based Kurdish militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the government insists it was carried out by a US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia group in collaboration with Turkey's own Kurdish rebels.

Turkey is pressing the United States to halt support to the group, which is a key force in the battle against the Islamic State group.

Previous attacks

The Islamic State group has been blamed for a string of bombings in the country since the middle of last year but the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has also killed dozens of soldiers in attacks mainly in the southeast of the country.

The capital was already on alert after 103 people were killed on 10 October when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of peace activists in Ankara, the bloodiest attack in the country's modern history.

Eleven people, all German tourists, were also killed on January 16 when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the tourist heart of Istanbul.

Those attacks were blamed on IS militants, as were two other deadly bombings in the country's Kurdish-dominated southeast earlier in the year.

Turkish authorities have in recent weeks detained several suspected IS members, with officials saying they were planning attacks in Istanbul and Ankara.

But Turkey is also waging an all-out assault on the outlawed PKK.

The PKK launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984, initially fighting for Kurdish independence although now more for greater autonomy and rights for the country's largest ethnic minority.

The conflict, which has left tens of thousands of people dead, looked like it could be nearing a resolution until an uneasy truce was shattered in July.

Turkish artillery in southern Turkey have also been shelling positions of Kurdish fighters in Syria for the fifth day in the row on Wednesday in an escalating standoff.

Turkey says the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) are merely the Syrian branch of the PKK and are themselves "terror groups".

Agencies contributed to this report