Ankara police chief, top officials suspended

2015-10-14 17:34
Wounded people wait for help at the site of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey. (Depo Photos, AP)

Wounded people wait for help at the site of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey. (Depo Photos, AP)

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Istanbul - The Turkish government suspended Ankara's police chief and two top security officials following terrorist attacks that killed nearly 100 people, state media reported on Wednesday.

The Interior Ministry moved against Ankara police chief Kadri Kartal, as well as heads of the security and intelligence departments, the Anadolu news agency report said.

The decision was taken, the report said, in order to enable a comprehensive investigation into the worst terrorist attack in Turkey's modern history to be carried out.

Twin bomb blasts on Saturday killed 97 people gathering for a pro-Kurdish peace rally in the Turkish capital.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, meanwhile, said both the Islamic State extremist group (ISIS) and the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) played a "role" in the Ankara attack.

The Islamic State and the PKK are locked in fierce battles in Syria and are widely seen as enemies, raising questions about the allegation. The PKK's Syria wing, the YPG, is backed by US-led airstrikes as it fights the Islamic extremist group.

The Turkish leader had previously said the Islamic State was the main focus of investigations. Davutoglu this week also said that while Turkey is aware of a list of potential suicide bombers it cannot arrest them until they have carried out a crime.

This statement was criticised by opponents who say authorities have carried out pre-emptive arrests on less lethal suspects in the past, including government critics.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of the opposition People's Republic Party, has been critical of the government's handling of the bombing and demanded that ministers resign.

Bombers identified

Meanwhile, Hurriyet newspaper reported that the two suicide bombers from Ankara have been identified, and that one is the brother of a suicide attacker who blew himself up in July in Suruc.

The Suruc attack, which also targeted a pro-Kurdish youth gathering, left 34 people dead and led to the breakdown of a two-year ceasefire between the PKK and the state.

The Turkish military has continued to bombard the PKK, which on Saturday, after the Ankara bombings, said it was halting all military activity against the state.

The military said it killed 10 PKK members in ground clashes and in airstrikes in the south-east.

It has carried out air raids against the PKK nearly daily since the twin suicide blasts.

Kurdish politicians in Turkey have rejected the claim that the PKK would have attacked the Saturday rally, which was organized by leftists and Kurdish groups.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said: "We lead the state and we are also only human. Everyone of us can make mistakes." He ordered the opening of a second investigation into the Ankara attacks.

Read more on:    isis  |  pkk  |  recep tayyip erdogan  |  turkey

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