Iran denounces deadly attack in Ankara

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the deadly terrorist explosion in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, calling for a collective fight against terrorism.

“The relentless terrorist operations in the region and the world reaffirm the necessity and urgency of a united confrontation against terrorism and extremism as a common threat to the international community,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said Monday.

The Iranian official further expressed Tehran’s condolences to the Turkish government and nation and the bereaved families of the victims.

A bomb-laden car exploded in the centrally located Kizilay neighborhood of Ankara on Sunday. The death toll in a car bomb attack has risen to 37 people, Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said on Monday, adding that 71 people were still being treated in hospital. Of those in hospital, 15 were in serious condition, he told reporters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility; however, two Turkish security officials told Reuters the initial findings suggest that the bombing was carried out by the Kurdish militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK, or an affiliated group.

The explosion occurred less than a month after a car bomb attack in central Ankara killed 29 people. Kurdish militants claimed responsibility for that attack.

On February 17, a car filled with explosives went off as military buses were passing by. A 26-year-old Turkish national born in the eastern city of Van from the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a PKK splinter group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The militant group said in a statement posted on its website that it carried out the attack in response to the policies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In January, at least 10 people were killed in another bombing in Istanbul, which was blamed on Daesh militants. More than a hundred others were killed in a twin bomb blasts at a Kurdish peace rally in Ankara last October.

The Turkish army has been carrying out a military campaign in several regions with a majority Kurdish population in the past few months. The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of attacks against Turkish police and security forces, prompting the Turkish military operations.

The PKK militants have sought an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since the 1980s.

UN censures Ankara attack

The United Nations (UN)’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also censured the terrorist attack in Ankara and offered the UN’s solidarity with Turkey.

“The Secretary-General sends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. The United Nations continues to support and stand in solidarity with the people and the government of Turkey at this trying time,” the UN said in a statement on Sunday.

Putin condoles with Turkish people

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday strongly denounced the terrorist attack and expressed his condolences to the people of Turkey.

“Vladimir Putin condemns the brutal terrorist attack in Ankara… The Russian president mourns together with all the Turkish people, who suffered another terrorist attack, in connection with numerous human victims,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.