ANKARA (Agencies) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday vowed that Turkey was more determined than ever to use its right to “self-defense” after a car bomb targeting military service vehicles killed at least 28 people.
“Our determination to respond in kind to attacks taking place inside and outside our borders is getting stronger with such acts,” Erdogan said in a statement. “It must be known that Turkey will not shy away from using its right to self-defense at any time, any place or any occasion.”
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the deadly blast, in which over 60 people were injured.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu immediately scrapped his trip to Brussels after the blast. And a mini-summit on Europe’s refugee crisis gathering 11 EU countries and Turkey, due to take place on Thursday, has been canceled, diplomats said Wednesday.
The talks, taking place ahead of a full summit of the 28-nation European Union, were to gather the leaders of 11 EU countries and Davutoglu to focus on how to resettle Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey.
The car bomb detonated when a convoy of military buses carrying dozens of soldiers stopped at traffic lights in central Ankara, creating scenes of panic and chaos.
“This attack has very clearly targeted our esteemed nation as a whole and was carried out in a vile, dishonorable, treacherous and insidious way,” said Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, who confirmed the death toll.
Plumes of smoke could be seen from all over the city rising from the scene, close to the headquarters of the Turkish military and the parliament.
The powerful blast was heard throughout Ankara, sending alarmed residents rushing to their balconies, an AFP correspondent said.
The army said the attack took place at 1631 GMT and had targeted “service vehicles carrying army personnel.”