Istanbul: DNA tests showed that Ecevit Sanli, a member of the Turkish leftist group DHKP-C, was the suicide bomber in Friday’s attack on the US embassy in Ankara, the city governor’s office said on Saturday.
“The person who detonated the explosives strapped to his body while trying to enter the US embassy ... was Ecevit Sanli, a militant from the terrorist organisation DHKP-C,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
A Turkish leftist group claimed responsibility on Saturday for a suicide bomb attack on the US embassy and accused Washington of using Turkey as its “slave”, according to a statement posted on the internet.
The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C) said it carried out Friday’s attack, in which a suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body at the embassy in Ankara, killing himself and a Turkish security guard.
In a statement on “The People’s Cry” website, DHKP-C, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the US and Turkey, warned Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that he too was a target.
“Murderer America! You will not run away from people’s rage,” the statement said, next to a picture of the bomber, named Ecevit Sanli, wearing a black beret and military-style clothes and with an explosives belt around his waist.
Erdogan, who said hours after the attack that DHKP-C were responsible, met with his interior and foreign ministers as well as head of army and state security service in Istanbul on Saturday to discuss the bombing.
Interior minister Muammer Guler said the attacker had served time in jail on domestic terrorism charges in Turkey in the past, re-entered the country using false documents and was wanted by the authorities.
“(The bomber) was demanding to pass through the guest and staff gate of the US embassy using a fake ID when he detonated the explosives,” the provincial governor’s office in Ankara said in a statement.
It said he had also detonated a hand grenade.
The White House condemned the bombing as an “act of terror”, while the UN Security Council described it as a heinous act.
US officials said DHKP-C were the main suspects in Friday’s bombing but did not exclude other possibilities.
Islamist radicals, extreme left-wing groups, ultra-nationalists and Kurdish militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past.
US Patriot missiles
DHKP-C, formed in 1978, is virulently anti-American.
It called on Washington to remove Patriot missiles, due to go operational on Monday as part of a NATO defence system, from Turkish soil. The missiles are being deployed alongside systems from Germany and the Netherlands to guard NATO-member Turkey against a spillover of the war in neighbouring Syria.
“Our action is for the independence of our country, which has become a new slave of America,” the statement said.
Turkey is a key US ally in the Middle East with common interests ranging from energy security to counter-terrorism and has been one of the leading advocates of foreign intervention to end the civil war in Syria.
It was the second attack on a US mission in four months. On 11 September 2012, US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three US personnel were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
DHKP-C was responsible for the assassination of two US military contractors in the early 1990s in protest against the first Gulf War and launched rockets at the US consulate in Istanbul in 1992, according to the US state department.
It has been blamed for previous suicide attacks, including one in 2001 that killed two police officers and a tourist in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square, and has carried out a series of deadly attacks on police stations in the last six months.
Friday’s attack may have come in retaliation for an operation against DHKP-C last month in which police detained 85 people. A court subsequently remanded 38 of them in custody over links to the group.