Chemist in bomb blast

June 16, 1995

A senior academic has become the latest target for Islamic extremists in Turkey. Yehuda Yorom, head of chemistry at Ankara University, and leader of the local Jewish community, escaped with scratches and bruises from an explosion that blew apart his car as he was leaving home for work this month.

Professor Yorom was blown clear of the car which exploded as he turned the ignition key.

His son, who was still outside the car when the explosion occurred, was caught in the blast and also taken to hospital for treatment.

A previously unknown group calling itself the Turkish wing of the Sharia Commando Forces claimed responsibility for the blast saying that it was in response to the extradition from Germany to Turkey of a man sentenced to death by a Turkish court in 1979 for the murder of five people.

The man was picked up by German police last month after escaping from a Turkish jail in 1982. The group also warned that more attacks would follow.

Colleagues at Ankara University immediately condemned the attack, saying that Professor Yorom had been picked as a soft target. Sources at the university say that he had recently received death threats through the post from Islamic extremists and had reported these to the police. Students said he had continued his daily academic duties with little or no change to his normal routine.

Radical groups of all political colours have carried out sporadic attacks against prominent figures in Turkey for many years.

Both the local authorities and the Israeli embassy in Ankara are playing down the professor's link to the Jewish community as a motive.

However, Turkey can now be added to a growing list of states in the region (including most notably Algeria and Egypt) where violence against academics constitutes a feature of extremist Islamic campaigns.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments