Turkish police have launched a wide security crackdown following a suicide bomb attack in Turkey’s capital, Ankara.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on Tuesday that police carried out raids in 64 Turkish provinces targeting people who possess illegal arms, after the attack blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Yerlikaya said that 928 people were arrested for possessing illegal arms, while 67 others were taken into custody for having suspected links to the PKK. State-run Anadolu agency later increased the number of people detained for being suspected PKK members to 90.
Some 13,400 security personnel took part in the operations, with more than 1,000 illegal arms seized.
Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu said security forces aimed at detaining as many suspects as they could in the operations.
“This does not mean that all these people are going to be arrested. This is just first detention,” she explained, reporting from Istanbul.
Koseoglu said the scope of the operation showed that the police had intensified their information gathering on PKK suspects.
She added that the centre of Tuesday’s raids is Sanliurfa, a large southeastern city bordering Syria.
The PKK has led a decades-long armed rebellion in Turkey and is considered a “terrorist” organisation by the United States and the European Union.
Tens of thousands of people have died since the start of the conflict in 1984.
On Sunday, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device near an entrance to the Turkish Ministry of Interior, hours before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was set to address parliament as it returned from its summer recess.
A second gunman was killed in a shootout with police. Two police officers were slightly wounded in the attack.
The suspects arrived at the scene inside a vehicle they seized from a veterinarian in the central Turkish city of Kayseri after shooting him in the head, officials said.
The PKK claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a news website close to the group, while Turkish authorities identified one of the assailants as a PKK member.
Hours later, Turkey’s warplanes carried out attacks on suspected PKK sites in northern Iraq, where the group’s leadership is based.
Source: Al Jazeera