Ankara bans public gatherings over terror attacks fears

By bne IntelliNews October 18, 2016

Authorities in Turkey’s capital Ankara have banned all public meetings and demonstrations until the end of November after receiving intelligence about potential terror attacks.

The Turkish capital has been hit repeatedly over the past year by attacks blamed on Islamic State and Kurdish militants. Turkey is currently conducting a military operation in Syria in support of rebels to drive Islamic State militants away from its southern border.

Intelligence reports suggest that terrorist organisations are planning attacks in Ankara, the governor’s office said in a statement on October 17. “All public meetings and marches are banned under the state of emergency”, the office said without specifying which group or groups are planning attacks but the usual suspects are Islamic State and radical Kurdish militants. Turkey, which imposed a three-month state of emergency following the failed July 15 coup attempt, extended the emergency rule by another three months in early October.

Earlier this month two militants of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which waged an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984, blew themselves up after being stopped by police in the outskirts of the capital. Authorities said the militants were preparing a car bomb attack. In the past, another radical Kurdish group, known as the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot of the PKK, have carried out suicide bomb attacks in the capital, killing scores of people.

It is also feared that the Turkish military’s operation in Syria may provoke revenge attacks by the jihadi group. Cumhuriyet newspaper reported that a memo by the country’s intelligence organisation (MIT), warns that Islamic State militants may target Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya and Gaziantep.

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