News / Europe

    Deadly Blast at US Embassy in Ankara Kills 2

    U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone (L, with white hair) speaks to media outside of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, February 1, 2013.
    U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone (L, with white hair) speaks to media outside of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, February 1, 2013.
    A suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the U.S. embassy complex in the Turkish capital, Ankara, killing himself and a Turkish guard.

    A reporter for VOA's Turkish service said the guard was killed near an X-ray machine at a checkpoint. The reporter said security cameras were not working at the time because the power had been down in the area.  

    An embassy employee told VOA the embassy was put under lockdown and its staff sent to safe rooms after the attack.  

    Police cordoned off the area, where several other embassies are located. U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone thanked the Turkish security forces for a quick response.

    "Right now we are all dealing with our sadness at the loss of our fellow member of our embassy," said Ricciardone.  "We salute his bravery, his service to Turkey and to Turkey-American friendship. Our hearts go out to his family.''

    Turkish media said Didem Tuncay, a well-known television personality and former anchor, was wounded in the blast and is in intensive care.  She is a veteran diplomatic and parliament reporter who is also known for her high-profile interviews.

    The attack is the second on U.S. diplomatic offices in Turkey in five years.  In 2008, three gunmen and three policemen were killed in an attack outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

    U.S. embassy in Ankara, TurkeyU.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey
    x
    U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey
    U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey
    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday's suicide attack, but Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler said preliminary information from police indicated that the bomber was likely linked to a domestic left-wing militant group.  

    Ambassador James Jeffrey, who served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 2008 to 2010, said Turkish authorities believe the bomber was a member of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, a small group that has attacked American facilities repeatedly in the past.

    He said the embassy in Ankara is considered a "higher than normal threat post" and that the attack likely was not in retaliation for any recent incidents in the region.

    "Every terrorist attack that I've looked at, and that's in the hundreds, has involved meticulous planning, observation of the target, preparations and such that all takes time," said Jeffrey. "And if it was this group, they are the least likely terrorist organization in the entire Middle East to respond to Israelis bombing Syria or something that happens in Egypt. These guys are part of the European, Marxist, urban world view of the 1970's. They are the most secular, I mean, it just isn't their world."

    Turkey, US united against 'terror'

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the bombing and called on the world to unite against terrorists.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney also condemned the blast and immediately labeled it terrorism.

    “A suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is, by definition, an act of terror. It is a terrorist attack,” he said.

    Carney added that Turkey is one of America's strongest allies in the region and the attack will only strengthen the U.S. and Turkey's resolve to counter terrorists threats.

    Friday's attack is the second on U.S. diplomatic offices in Turkey in five years. In 2008, three gunmen and three policemen were killed in an attack outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

    • Rescuers take a victim of a blast outside the US Embassy in Ankara to an awaiting ambulance, February 1, 2013.
    • A general view shows police and forensic experts working at the site of a blast outside the US Embassy in Ankara, February 1, 2013.
    • People stand outside the entrance of the US embassy in Ankara after a blast killed a security guard and wounded several other people, February 1, 2013.
    • Emergency personnel are seen in front of a side entrance of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, February 1, 2013.
    • Emergency personnel in front of a side entrance of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, February 1, 2013.
    • Medics carry an injured woman on a stretcher to an ambulance after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Turkey, February 1, 2013.

    Past threats

    U.S. embassy officials have been on alert since terrorists killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, at the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11. Earlier that day, anti-American protesters angry about a U.S.-made film about the Prophet Muhammad stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo. Yemenis offended by that film also broke into the U.S. embassy compound in Sana'a.

    Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi prompted her to take urgent steps to improve security at diplomatic posts worldwide.

    Clinton said she has responded to those incidents by asking for hundreds of additional Marine security guards to be sent to vulnerable diplomatic posts. She testified in a Senate hearing last week that she has designated more than 20 U.S. missions around the world as high-risk sites requiring tighter security.   

    A labor union that represents American diplomats told VOA that sending more Marines to guard high-risk missions is a positive step.

    "Having them there in an emergency can also buy you time and can certainly help you to prevail or escape or minimize the damage, so we welcome that," said American Foreign Service Association president Susan Johnson. "But the Marines are not out there yet."

    However, some American diplomats worry that new security rules ordered by Washington also could make it harder for their counterparts to do their jobs.

    Johnson said many diplomats have been speaking up in favor of flexibility.

    “Benghazi is bringing the issue to the forefront. I am seeing a bit more pushback from the Foreign Service against calls to eliminate all risk, not travel anywhere and get 64 permissions to do so," she said.

    Additional reporting by Dorian Jones in Istanbul and Michael Lipin in Washington.

    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Juan Lopez from: California
    February 02, 2013 12:29 PM
    Your headline implies that the value of the two lives was equal. I find that objectionable. Too politically correct for me.

    by: Anonymot from: Italy
    February 02, 2013 9:26 AM
    "... September 11. Earlier that day, anti-American protesters angry about a U.S.-made film about the Prophet Muhammad stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo."

    We know you are the U.S. government media machine, but for you to still be proposing this idiotic lie that sank the SOS candidacy of Susan Rice is pretty unpardonable.

    by: annl from: sk
    February 02, 2013 2:04 AM
    What a sad! it wasn't right way killing or being killed by a bomb explosion if whatever their goal is.

    by: Shintoh from: Japan
    February 01, 2013 10:37 PM
    The fanatic was too naive to do that ridiculous act... Islamic extremists don't give any good aspiration to such naive people, but suicide, even though leaders of the extremists are still peacefully alive with their families. Islamic young people! Before going to suicide attack, think twice! You just have been taken in by extremists!! Learn and learn as if you were to live forever.

    by: James Simpson from: USA
    February 01, 2013 5:46 PM
    To the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front,

    IF you are following the ideals of communism and socialism, terrorism is not the way. American and Turkish resolve will destroy the malcontents that do not bring the light of humanity to the world.

    Go with God.

    by: Iris from: Boulder, CO
    February 01, 2013 4:07 PM
    how many Israeli's have attacked an American facility. How many Israeli's have been homicide bombers.
    In Response

    by: Samantha Holborn from: USA
    February 01, 2013 11:38 PM
    what a silly question... Israel and the US are one and the same!!! Israel is part of the American heartland... the two are inseparable... and i love it.... and proud of it just as well

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora