Ankara blast: DNA tests suggest bomber born in Turkey

Funerals for victims of Ankara bombing. 19 Feb 2016Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Funerals for the military victims of the bombing have been held in Ankara

The bomber behind a deadly blast in the Turkish capital Ankara was Turkish-born, security officials say, not from Syria as the government initially said.

However, the government has insisted there is a link between the attack and Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Prosecutors and security officials said DNA tests had identified the bomber as Abdulbaki Somer, born in the eastern Turkish city of Van.

Last week's bombing killed 29 people, at least 20 of them military personnel.

"The bomber's DNA matches that of Abdulbaki's father," a senior Turkish security official told Reuters news agency.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The bomber struck a military convoy in the capital

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency quoted prosecutors confirming the report.

It said that Abdulbaki Somer was believed to have joined the Kurdish militant PKK group in 2005 at the age of 16 and was based in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq until 2014.

The agency said that Somer's father had told police that his son was behind the attack.

Following the blast in Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu named the bomber as Salih Necar, a Syrian national and member of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

"Whatever the judicial inquiry concludes over the identity of the bomber, it is clear that the bomber came from Rojava, the area of the PYD," Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters on Tuesday, referring to another Syrian Kurd-controlled northern Syria.

He said the bomber had entered Turkey from the region in the summer of 2014.

Turkish newspaper the Hurriyet suggested that Abdulbaki Somer may have re-entered Turkey with false papers under the name Salih Necar.

The PKK, which has been fighting for Kurdish self-determination since 1984, is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey and its Western allies.

Turkey has also designated the YPG a terrorist group, but its allies, including the United States, back the YPG in its fight against so-called Islamic State (IS).