Three senior Turkish security officials have been suspended following the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack Saturday in the capital, Ankara. Their suspension comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged mistakes were made over the attack.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry says Ankara’s provincial police chief and the heads of the city’s intelligence and security departments were suspended Tuesday to allow what it said would be a “healthy investigation” into the bombings. The suspensions came as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged that mistakes were made in preventing Turkey’s worst terror attack.
“There must undoubtedly be a mistake, a shortcoming in some place. Of what dimension? This will emerge after examinations,” he said.
Erdogan and his ruling party-led government are facing growing criticism over the twin bombings that killed nearly 100 people and injured hundreds more.
The president said he is using his executive powers to initiate an investigation into the attacks. He also claimed there was intelligence from Syria indicating an attack was being prepared ahead of the bombing.
The president’s comments are widely seen as putting on pressure to his AKP government, which until now claimed no mistakes were made. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday Islamic State militants remain the chief suspects for Saturday’s attack. But he added there was evidence that a second group could be involved, without revealing its identity.
Ministers and pro-government media have suggested the Kurdish rebel group the PKK could be working with Islamic State.
Observers say such claims have been dismissed by critics who point out the rally was attended by many pro Kurdish activists and the PKK is currently fighting the Islamic State both in Syria and Iraq.