Ankara terror attack on day the Turkish Parliament re-opens after summer recess

On Sunday, newly elected MPs in this year’s May General Elections joined their more experienced political colleagues for the reconvening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkiye (TBMM) following the summer recess.

The 28th session of the Turkish Parliament had officially commenced on 2 June 2023, after the Parliamentary and Presidential elections, but there was little legislative work as new MPs were sworn in.

The 1 October state opening of the TBMM saw addresses from the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Speaker of Parliament, Numan Kurtulmuş.

The day was marred, however, by a terror attack that occurred outside the Ministry of Interior, located just a few hundred metres away from the Turkish Parliament in Ankara.

Terror attack in Ankara

Officials reported an explosion outside Ministry of Interior at around 9.26am local time. According to eyewitnesses, two men arrived outside the ministry in a car and carried out the attack.

One man exited the car and threw a small explosive device at the ministry building, apparently to distract security.

The second attacker initially shot at guards standing by the main ministry entrance, before detonating a bomb strapped to him, killing himself in the process.

As this was happening, the first attacker tried to run into the ministry compound and was immediately shot dead by police.

Two police officers were injured in the attack. One was wounded after being shot in the chest, while another officer suffered injuries to an eye and to both his legs.

A day earlier, the two terrorists are said to have stolen a vehicle in Kayseri, in central Anatolian some 160 miles away from the Turkish capital. The pair are said to have shot dead the car’s owner, a 24-year-old veterinarian and father of two, who was driving the car in the countryside.

The Ministry of Interior attack has been claimed by the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), an armed militant group that has waged war on the Turkish state since 1983. The details were announced by ANF, a Dutch based pro-Kurdish online publication close to the PKK.

The PKK said one of its units, the Immortals Battalion [‘Ölümsüzler Taburu’], carried out the attack. The unit has been previously described by a PKK commander as a group of suicide bombers in sleeper cells.

Turkish state opening

Sunday’s attack in Ankara was the first terror-related incident in the Turkish capital since 2016.

The explosion on Ataturk Boulevard happened a few hours before the Turkish Parliament was due to reconvene after the summer break. The state opening went ahead as planned.

President Erdoğan referred to the attack in his speech in Parliament: “The vile people who took aim at the peace and security of our citizens did not reach their goal and they never will.”

President Erdogan addresses the Turkish Parliament as it reconvenes after summer recess, 01 Oct 2023. photo © TC Presidency


The President also took the opportunity to renew his call for a new Turkish constitution. “Turkiye deserves a constitution that opens the horizons of society, not one that lags behind society. Our duty is a new civilian constitution,” he said.

The government laid out its plans for the new legislative year, which includes reforms to pensions and greater support for young people.

Following the official reconvening of Parliament, MPs, political leaders and special guests attended a reception in the Parliament building.

New faces in Turkish Parliament

The 28th term of the TBMM includes many new faces. They include former footballer and Trabzonspor manager Ünal Karaman, and Ayyüce Türkeş Taş, daughter of MHP founder Alparslan Türkeş, who have both been elected as MPs for the İYİ Party.

Former diplomat Namık Tan and Türkan Elçi, the wife of Tahir Elçi, the former president of the Diyarbakır Bar Association who was assassinated in 2015, have entered Parliament as CHP MPs.

Former Miss Turkey Seda Sarıbaş and former footballer and Trabzonspor manager Ünal Karaman, both now MPs following May 2023 General Elections in Turkiye


The ruling AKP also has some interesting new names among its cadre of MPs, including a former Miss Turkey, Seda Sarıbaş, actor and writer Bahadır Yenişehirlioğlu, and musician and composer Yücel Arzen Hacıoğulları.

Ayyüce Türkeş Taş’s older brother Tuğrul Türkeş is an MP for the AKP. He had initially entered the TBMM in 2007 as an MP for MHP before defecting to Erdoğan’s AKP in 2015.

May 2023 Turkish Parliamentary Election results

The current composition of the 600-seat TBMM was determined in the General Election, held simultaneously with the Presidential Election on 14 May 2023.

Many parties combined into political alliances for the May elections to give smaller parties a better chance of crossing the 7% electoral threshold needed to enter parliament. It led to six parties officially in the TBMM.

The Cumhur (People’s) Alliance, formed between the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) its main ally MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) and a few smaller hard right Islamist parties, received 49.49% share of the vote with 26,891,905 votes, and 322 MPs.

The main opposition’s Millet (National) Alliance, comprising of CHP (Republication Turkish Party) and İYİ (Good) Party and members drawn from four smaller parties, received 35.04% share of the vote with 19,042,806 votes, and 213 MPs.

The Grand National Assembly of Turkiye, first day back after the summer recess, 01 Oct. 2023. Photo © TC Presidency


The left wing opposition formed the Emek & Özgürlük (Labour & Freedom) Alliance, receiving 10.55% share of the vote and 5,730,781 votes, with 65 MPs.

Two smaller alliances, the far-right Ata (Ancestral) Alliance and the Sosyalist Güç Birliği (Union of Socialist Forces), also participated in the elections for the first time but failed to secure enough votes to win any seats.

Ata garnered 2.44% of the vote in May with 1,323,988 votes, while Sosyalist Güç Birliği received even fewer votes, just 0.29% of the national ballot with 159,275 votes cast for them.

Composition of Turkish Parliament after May 2023 Elections

The split of 600 MPs in the new Turkish Parliament is as follows:

AKP / Cumhur Alliance – 268 MPs

CHP / Millet Alliance – 169 MPs

Green Left Party (YSP) / Emek & Özgürlük Alliance – 61 MPs

MHP / Cumhur Alliance – 50 MPs

İYİ Party / Millet Alliance – 43 MPs

New Welfare Party (YRP) / Cumhur Alliance – 5 MPs

Workers Party of Turkiye (TIP) / Emek & Özgürlük Alliance – 4 MPs


Main image, top, of a Turkish bomb squad officer inspecting a vehicle used in a suicide attack near the Interior Ministry in Ankara, Turkey, 01 October 2023. Photo ©  NECATI SAVAS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (14133081k)