Kurdish Group TAK Claims Responsibility for Ankara Bomb Attack

  • Germany shuts down diplomatic missions on terror threat
  • Deep sense of insecurity prevails in Turkish capital

A Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility on Thursday for a suicide bombing in the Turkish capital that killed at least 35 people this week. Germany shut down its diplomatic missions and a German school in Turkey after receiving a terrorism threat.

The TAK group took credit for the the March 13 attack in Ankara’s teeming Kizilay square, less than a month after claiming a similar bombing targeting army officers in the capital. Those deadly assaults, combined with a suicide attack by Islamic State in October, have killed more than 160 and deepened the insecurity in the city, where people were shunning shopping streets, malls and restaurants on Thursday.

The German Foreign Ministry in Berlin ordered the shutdown of its embassy and a German school in Ankara as well as its consulate in Istanbul because of a terrorism threat, the ministry said in an e-mail. The authenticity of the threat couldn’t immediately be verified and the shutdowns were ordered as a precaution, the ministry said.

Kurdish fighters have escalated their three-decade war for autonomy in the country’s Kurdish-dominated southeast from mountains to urban areas since July in a growing confrontation with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A three-year lull in fighting between the military and the Kurdish PKK group broke down after Kurdish politicians were voted into parliament for the first time in June.

Erdogan vowed on Wednesday to quash the PKK, which has threatened to topple him even as he seeks to expand the powers his office through a proposed presidential system.

The president urged the Turkish parliament on Wednesday to immediately allow the prosecution of pro-Kurdish lawmakers on charges of ties to the PKK, which is branded as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

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