Turkey prepares to bury 95 killed in twin blasts

2015-10-11 11:31
Turkish police block the way to the site of Saturday's explosions in Ankara, Turkey, in which at least 95 people died. (Emrah Gurel, AP)

Turkish police block the way to the site of Saturday's explosions in Ankara, Turkey, in which at least 95 people died. (Emrah Gurel, AP)

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Istanbul - Mourners anxiously began to gather in Ankara on Sunday to commemorate the 95 people killed in twin blasts the previous day at a pro-Kurdish peace rally, the worst attack in Turkey's modern history.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday two unknown suicide bombers likely carried out the strike which his office confirmed injured 246 people. Kurdish officials say the death toll is higher and is likely to rise.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which came three weeks before snap general elections set for November 1 and the G20 heads-of-government summit later next month, raising security concerns.

Davutoglu said a number of groups - including the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), leftists and the Islamic State group - are suspects.

His accusation that Kurdish militants may have bombed the peace rally angered officials in the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), which was one of the organisers of the event.

The party held the Turkish government accountable for the Ankara bombings, which was worsening tensions between the two sides in an already difficult period.

A two-year ceasefire between Kurdish militants and the state was shattered in July, after a similar suicide bombing in Suruc, southern Turkey, which killed 34 at a pro-Kurdish gathering.

That attack too was not claimed, but Turkey blamed the Islamic State militant group.

An HDP official told dpa that the party saw Davutoglu's statement as "nonsense" and viewed the Islamic State as a potential suspect, but that the government "either organized it or didn't prevent it."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the "heinous attack" and said investigations are under way. He pledged the perpetrators would be brought to justice. Three days of mourning have been declared.

After the blasts the PKK called on its militants to halt all armed action against the state, unless attacked. There were reports the group had planned such a call before the election, but the had government snubbed the proposal.

There were anti-government protests in several Turkish cities after the twin blasts, with some demonstrators calling Erdogan a "murderer".

Read more on:    turkey

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