Skip to main content

Terrorist Attack at USEmbassy in Turkey

Tulin Daloglu reports from the scene of a suicide bombing at the US Embassy in Ankara.
Turkish police officers react after an explosion at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara February 1, 2013 in this picture provided by Milliyet Daily Newspaper. A suicide bomber killed a Turkish security guard (not pictured) at the U.S. embassy in Ankara on Friday, blowing the door off a side entrance and sending smoke and debris flying into the street. Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yuksel said the attacker was inside U.S. property when the ex

A suicide bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, killing a guard, on Feb. 1 at 1:13 p.m. local time.

Turkish authorities believe the attacker to be Ecevit Sanli, a 30-year-old member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), an extremist leftist organization. Sanli was reported to have been detained in 1997. Officials do not yet know why the group targeted the embassy.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack, reasserting that his government would not yield in the fight against terror. “The attack aimed to disturb Turkey’s “peace and prosperity” and demonstrated a need for international cooperation against terroris,” Erdogan said. 

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu offered his thoughts, stating, “We are saddened that such an attack happened in our country.” He went on to say that, “Turkey will spare no effort in protecting diplomatic facilities…We have always shown great sensitivity to the protection of foreign missions and we will continue to do so.” 

Muammer Guler, minister of the interior, told journalists, “The state prosecutor is on top of this case, as well as bomb squads, and a detailed investigation is ongoing.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a written statement, “We are working closely with the Turkish national police to make a full assessment of the damage and the casualties, and to begin an investigation. We will share more information as it becomes available.”

Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yuksel revealed that the attack had occurred inside a security entrance. Shortly after the blast, he visited the embassy, where he met with Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone Jr.

Speaking outside the main gate of the compound, Ricciardone told reporters that Turkey and the United States have both suffered greatly from terror attacks and that “such acts only make us more determined to increase our cooperation against terrorism.”

“We have received hundreds of text messages, and we know we are amongst friends here, and we feel safe,” Ricciardone added. “We are now very sad of course that we lost one of our Turkish guards at the gate.”

When Al-Monitor arrived at the scene, police had already cordoned off the area of the blast. A police officer who asked not to be identified told Al-Monitor that the explosive used was powerful enough that it brought down the marble walls lining the entrance of the security area.

Guler Gurcan, who lives near the compound, told Al-Monitor, “Our walls trembled. I felt our organs shake. It was a very strong explosion, and we immediately understood something had happened at the U.S. Embassy.”

After news of the attack broke, traffic was blocked around the embassy, which is off Atatürk Bulvari, one of downtown Ankara’s main thoroughfares. People at the scene looked stunned, and journalists outside the cordon waited in silence.

Among the injured is Didem Tuncay, a former diplomatic correspondent for NTV, who had gone to the embassy to apply for a visa. Minister Guler said Tuncay is being treated at the hospital for an eye injury and that her life is not in danger.

Hours after the explosion, the scene remained crowded with Turkish police, and security had been visibly heightened in the vicinity of the embassy compound.


More details are emerging about DHKP-C, an extremist Marxist, anti-Imperialist terror group that is believed to have carried out the bombing.  A former American official tells Al-Monitor that "DHKP-C has actually committed some murders of US servicemen and an insurance agent during, and after, the First Gulf War. There was a schism in the organization in the mid - 1990s and after that. Their tradecraft was reportedly excellent, one of the better terror groups of their time."

Tulin Daloglu is a columnist for Al-Monitor's Turkey Pulse. She has written extensively for various Turkish and American publications, including The New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneThe Middle East TimesForeign PolicyThe Daily Star (Lebanon) and the SAIS Turkey Analyst Report. She also had a regular column at The Washington Times for almost four years. She tweets from @TurkeyPulse.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial