US Embassy Warned of Possible Terrorist Attack in Ankara 2 Days Ahead of Deadly Blast

March 13, 2016 Updated: March 14, 2016

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a series of security warnings days ahead of the car bomb that exploded in central Ankara on March 13 killing at least 34 people.

The most explicit warning was posted on the embassy website on March 11, telling Americans to avoid the Bahcelievler area due to a possible terrorist attack. The Bahcelievler area is about 3 miles from where the attack took place, and both locations are in the old part of the city where most government buildings are located.

We advise U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans.
— U.S. Embassy

The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that there is information regarding a potential terrorist plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing located in the Bahcelievler area of Ankara. U.S. citizens should avoid this area.

We advise U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings and local events, monitor local news stations for updates, and follow local authority instructions. 

Sunday’s car bomb, which sent flames and smoke shooting high into the sky, occurred at about 6:35 p.m. local time at a bus stop near the city’s main square, Kizilay.

Another security alert on March 11, more accurately pinpointed the area to stay away from, warning Americans of protests near the Middle East Technical University and Guven Park in Kizilay. 

Security alert from U.S. Embassy in Turkey pushed to phones in Turkey.
Screenshot of security alert from U.S. Embassy in Turkey on March 11, 2016.

On March 10, the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul had issued a similar alert about protests on March 11 that could turn violent. March 11 marked the anniversary of the death of a 15-year-old boy who died during a Turkish National Police action.

The U.S. Consulate General would like to inform U.S. citizens that March 11 will mark the 2nd anniversary of the death of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who died as a result of Turkish National Police action during the 2013 Gezi Park protests.  According to Turkish media reports and government sources, the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C) may be planning attacks on March 11 to coincide with this anniversary.  These organizations have historically marked days they deem significant by attacking facilities and personnel associated with the Turkish government.

We strongly encourage U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster your personal security.

So far, no group has publicly claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack. 

Turkish officials, however, said early evidence indicates it could be the Kurdistan Workers’ Party terrorist organization (PKK), or a terrorist organization affiliated with the PKK. A PKK affiliated group claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing on Feb. 17, also in Ankara, that targeted buses carrying military personnel, killing 29 people. 

Security and medics at the explosion site in the busy center of Turkish capital, Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, March 13, 2016. The explosion is believed to have been caused by a car bomb that went off close to bus stops. News reports say the large explosion in the capital has caused several deaths and many casualties. (AP Photo)
Security and medics at the explosion site in the busy center of Turkish capital, Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, March 13, 2016. (AP Photo)