The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has accepted responsibility for the suicide bombing in the capital Ankara on Sunday, according to news website close to the group.
“It was specifically envisaged that this action would be carried out on the opening day of parliament, very close to the parliament building,” they said in a statement released by a Kurdish news agency.
The powerful explosion outside the interior ministry, which was followed by large flames, was heard for several kilometres from the site of the attack.
Two assailants have detonated a bomb in front of Turkish government buildings in the heart of Ankara, in what authorities said was a terrorist attack that left both dead and two police officers wounded.
The targeted district is home to several other ministries and the Turkish parliament, which reopened as planned in the afternoon with an address from President Erdogan.
Kurdish militants later claimed responsibility for the blast, which was the first in the Turkish capital since 2016 and happened less than a mile away from the parliament building on Sunday, hours before lawmakers were due to return after a three-month summer break. In a speech to mark the reopening, the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, slammed the morning attack as the “last flutters of terrorism”. He added: “Those who threaten the peace and security of citizens have not achieved their goals and never will.”
Ali Yerlikaya, the interior minister, said on the social media platform X that two attackers approached the general security directorate building at about 9.30am local time on Sunday in a commercial vehicle.
According to Yerlikaya, one detonated explosives, killing themselves in the process, while the second was killed by gunfire from security forces stationed outside the building.
Erdoğan also nodded towards potential changes to Turkey’s constitution in the coming parliamentary term, after an election earlier this year where his opponents warned against an increasing concentration of power around the presidency.
Referring to a thwarted military coup in 2016, Erdoğan said that Turkey “deserves to crown its struggle for democracy with a civilian constitution. Let us not delay this longing.”
After the attack, authorities closed one of the Turkish capital’s main thoroughfares, which passes close to a number of state institutions including the parliament building.
Police also announced they would carry out controlled explosions for “suspicious package incidents” in other parts of the city.
According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, Turkey’s criminal court of peace in Ankara issued a ban on media access and publication about the attack.
Turkish authorities last year passed a sweeping new law intended to curb “disinformation”, with those accused of breaching the law threatened with up to three years in prison.
-With Input From Agency