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Train station bombings kill 95 at Ankara peace rally

Posted October. 12, 2015 10:12,   


People began to gather in the square facing the central train station in the Turkish capital of Ankara at 10 a.m. on Friday, three weeks before an election, to have a peace march urging for the end of bloody clash between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

When dozens of young people sang and chanted a slogan with holding hands before a march, flames soared with a loud explosive sound suddenly. Almost at the same time, another explosion rocked the nearby area. The square turned into blood and flags and banners were scattered everywhere. Citizens in panic cried on the ground. A citizen who saw the scene told the Associated Press, “A man put down a bag and yanked a line and the explosion occurred. Two bombings were 10 to 15 seconds apart and people fell down.”

The Turkish government said the two bombings killed 95 people and injured 245, with 48 of whom in a critical condition. The worst terrorist attack on civilians in Ankara left Turkey in sorrow and shock.

It is not unclear who was behind the double bombing. It is likely, however, that those who do not want peace between the Turkish government and Kurdish rebels did the bombing in that many of the victims were supporters from anti-governmental groups urging the government to stop the bloody confrontation with Kurdish rebels and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). Turksh Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the ISIS, the PKK and far-left group Revolutionary People`s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) are three potential suspects.

“The bombings in Ankara are likely to be the ISIS’s strategy to expand war to the heart of Turkey,” CNN said. The ISIS has blamed Turkey since when the country joined the U.S.-led raid on the terrorist group. CNN also said that this terrorist attack is similar to the ISIS’s attack on pro-Kurdish party supporters in Suruc in southern Turkey in July, a typical suicide bombing of the terrorist group.

PKK was set up in 1978 to establish an independent country in the eastern region, which has a large number of the Kurds, an estimated 20 percent of the Turkish population. “It seems that it was done by a group that hopes the PKK would continue fighting against Turkey. If tensions between Turkey and the PKK escalate, the ISIS might benefit from it,” said Soner Cagaptay, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

As the Justice and Development Party (AKP), founded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, failed to win a majority seat in 13 years in the general election in June, a re-election will be held on November 1. Anti-government media have criticized that the AKP tried to win votes by letting the PKK cause a bloody clash and encouraging Turkish nationalism opposing the PKK. Some suspected that the hawkish members of the PKK who insist on armed resistance for independence were behind the terrorist attack.

The Turkish government declared a three-day mourning period for the victims on Saturday. U.S. President Barack Obama offered condolences, saying, “The American people stand in solidarity with the people of Turkey in the fight against terrorism.” Russian President Vladimir Putin also sent his condolences to Erdogan.