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Today's Zaman

Bomb explodes in front of high court following critical rulings

5 March 2012, Monday /BAYRAM KAYA/METİN ARSLAN
A small bomb exploded in front of the Supreme Court of Appeals in Ankara on Monday morning, injuring one, soon after critical decisions were made by the court on the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) and Ergenekon cases.

The explosion, reportedly caused by a percussion bomb, caused panic as the site is some 200 meters away from the Prime Ministry, where a Cabinet meeting was scheduled to take place one hour later. The Cabinet meeting was postponed one hour from 11 a.m. to noon.

The injured person was identified as Hüseyin Ahmet K., the driver of İzzet Karataş, the president of the 14th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Police teams were dispatched to the area, where high security measures were taken. Bomb experts, wearing protective gear, searched the area to make sure no other bomb had been placed.

"We understand that the explosive material was 150 grams [5.2 ounces] of light explosives placed inside a plastic bottle," Ankara Governor Alaadin Yüksel told reporters.

Asked how such an attack could have happened in a high security area of the capital, he said: "We are examining everything. Our colleagues are examining the video footage."

A man wearing a black jacket and white hood reportedly arrived at the Supreme Court of Appeals early on Monday morning. The bomber installed the bomb at the entrance of the building at around 6:30 a.m. and planned to detonate it when shuttles carrying court personnel would enter the compound; however, the bomb exploded at 9:40 a.m., after the shuttles had already passed by, preventing higher casualty figures.

The counterterrorism department of the Ankara Police Department came out with the physical description of the attacker one hour after the blast, and it was sent out to district police departments in addition to other provincial police offices.

The blast occurred on the heels of critical rulings by the Supreme Court of Appeals in the cases of the KCK, an umbrella organization that allegedly encompasses the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and Ergenekon, a clandestine crime network that has alleged links within the state and is suspected of plotting to topple the government.

In landmark rulings last month, the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decisions that the KCK is a terrorist organization, in separate appeal cases of two KCK suspects who were convicted of being members of a terrorist organization.

One of the suspects in the ongoing KCK case, Fırat Ertunç -- who the Van 4th High Criminal Court sentenced to seven years, 11 months in prison on March 11 of last year for committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization -- appealed his sentence to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The 9th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the Van 4th High Criminal Court's decision and, by doing so, affirmed the lower court's decision to classify the KCK as a terrorist organization.

The court made the same ruling in the appeal case of KCK suspect Süleyman Bayram -- who the Van 4th High Criminal Court sent to prison in March of last year for committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization -- and appealed his sentence at the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The 9th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the Van 4th High Criminal Court's decision regarding Bayram and, by doing so, reaffirmed again the lower court's decision to classify the KCK as a terrorist organization.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court of Appeals also accepted an indictment concerning a former third army commander and a prosecutor, who is currently a Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy, accusing the two men of establishing and running a terrorist group.

The trial of the two suspects, retired Gen. Saldıray Berk and CHP Denizli deputy İlhan Cihaner, will be heard by the 11th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals. In addition to being charged with membership in Ergenekon, the suspects face charges of forgery of official documents, issuing threats and illegally storing personal data.

Commenting on Monday's blast, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay told reporters that there are some circles who want to create tension in the country.

“Our provincial branch building in İstanbul was attacked a few days ago. It is very obvious that some circles want to create tension in Turkey,” Günay said.

The blast, which took place in front of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) offices in İstanbul last Thursday, wounded 15 policemen and one civilian. No one has claimed responsibility for that attack.

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