Minister: Turkey Has Foiled 18 Suicide Attacks So Far in 2016

ISTANBUL (Reuters) -
A municipality worker cleans the site of Tuesday's suicide bomb attack at Sultanahmet square in Istanbul, Turkey January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
A municipality worker cleans the site of a suicide bombing attack at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey, Jan. 13. (Reuters/Osman Orsal)

Turkish security forces have foiled 18 suicide attacks since the start of the year, three of them by intercepting vehicles laden with explosives, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said in an interview with the Kanal 7 media station on Sunday.

Ala said that one of the three vehicles had been found last week at Istanbul’s Bogazici University, sections of which were evacuated on Thursday due to the bomb scare.

A car packed with explosives was detonated in Ankara this month next to military buses waiting at a traffic light in the administrative heart of the capital, killing 29 people, most of them soldiers. The government blamed the Ankara bombing on a member of a Syrian Kurdish militia working with PKK terrorists inside Turkey.

In January a suicide bomber without a car killed 10 German tourists in the historic heart of Istanbul during an attack Turkey blamed on IS.

NATO member Turkey faces multiple security threats. It is part of a U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and is battling Kurdish terrorists in its southeast, where a 2-1/2 year ceasefire collapsed last July, triggering the worst violence since the 1990s.