Twin bombs kill 86 at pro-Kurdish rally in Turkish capital

Published: October 10, 2015
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This video grab image taken from footage made avaliable by local source "Dokuz8 Haber" shows the moment an explosion ripped through a gathering ahead of a planned peace rally in Ankara on October 10, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

This video grab image taken from footage made avaliable by local source "Dokuz8 Haber" shows the moment an explosion ripped through a gathering ahead of a planned peace rally in Ankara on October 10, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA: At least 86 people were killed when two suspected suicide bombers hit a rally of pro-Kurdish and leftist activists outside Ankara’s main train station on Saturday, weeks ahead of an election, in the deadliest attack of its kind on Turkish soil.

Bodies covered by flags and banners, including those of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), lay scattered on the road among bloodstains and body parts.

“Like other terror attacks, the one at the Ankara train station targets our unity, togetherness, brotherhood and future,” President Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement, calling for “solidarity and determination”.

Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu told a news conference that 86 people had been killed and 186 wounded, 28 of whom were in intensive care. The death toll could rise further.

Witnesses said the two explosions happened seconds apart shortly after 1000 a.m. as hundreds gathered for a planned march to protest over a conflict between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants in the southeast.

“I heard one big explosion first and tried to cover myself as the windows broke. Right away there was the second one,” said Serdar, 37, who was working at a newspaper stand in the train station. “There was shouting and crying and I stayed under the newspapers for a while. I could smell burnt flesh.”

Read: Five children wounded in bomb blast in Turkey’s southeast

There were no claims of responsibility for the attack.

PHOTO: AFP

But the NATO member has been in a heightened state of alert since starting a “synchronized war on terror” in July, including air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq. It has also rounded up hundreds of suspected Kurdish and Islamist militants at home.

Kurdish militants’ ceasefire

The attacks, in the scale of casualties, exceeded events in 2003, when two synagogues, the Istanbul HSBC Bank headquarters and the British consulate were hit with a total loss of 62 lives. Authorities said those attacks bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda.

Saturday’s attacks came as expectation mounted that PKK militants would announce a unilateral ceasefire, effectively restoring a truce that collapsed in July. The government had already dismissed the anticipated move as an election gambit to bolster the HDP, whose success at June elections had helped erode the ruling AK party’s majority.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Saleem
    Oct 10, 2015 - 1:40PM

    Fruits of leaving the secular path. Mr Ergodan had started the Pakistanisation of Turkey and the effects have started showing.Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Oct 10, 2015 - 2:04PM

    Think before shaking hand with usa government, they are destroying every Muslim country.Recommend

  • ashok
    Oct 10, 2015 - 7:51PM

    The moral of the story is,do not raise snakes in your back yard.They may sting you too.Snakes do not differentiate between muslims and kaffirs.RIP to the dead and get well soon wounded.Recommend

  • mahakaalchakra
    Oct 10, 2015 - 7:54PM

    Does the principle of Karma (results of the accumulated sins of the past) applies to present conditions of Muslim countries when you notice relentless killing and violence going on in almost all Muslim countries?.Recommend

  • American
    Oct 10, 2015 - 8:11PM

    Welcome to Pakistanization of Turkey…Erdogan is following in the foot steps of Zia !Recommend

  • PakPower
    Oct 10, 2015 - 8:12PM

    Turkey has dug a ditch for Syria and fell right into it. Abysmal foreign policy from the Erdogan government. It should have maintained neutrality.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Oct 10, 2015 - 8:22PM

    Why these rally organizers provide soft targets to terrorists? Haven’t they learnt lesson after so many years of war? Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Oct 10, 2015 - 9:37PM

    @ashok:
    Yes but just remember when Shiv Sena and RSS start doing these because people arent being ‘true hindus’ you can always remember that you elected modi as PM.Recommend

  • Milind
    Oct 10, 2015 - 10:06PM

    @Pakistani – Get yourself educated and develop a habit of critical thinking.. Shiv Sena is an expression of political Hinduism.. Apart from stray instances of moral policing the Shiv Sena is quite liberal with Hinduism and has Muslims in its ranks. Our fast bowler Zahir Khan himself admitted that Shiv Sainiks were co-operative with him and did not enforce Hinduism on him ( he prayed 5 times a day)… The Shiv Sena aggression is in response to your narrow-minded, judgemental ‘Pakistani’ variety of Muslims who’re running riot, killing, lynching people.
    RSS can be close to the fundamentalist variety, but they’ve never had training camps to blow up people.. So no danger there.Recommend

  • vinsin
    Oct 10, 2015 - 10:43PM

    @Pakistani:
    And that is the reason why Muslims join RSS and Shiv Sena have extended Muslim families?Recommend

  • MachoMan
    Oct 10, 2015 - 10:44PM

    @Saleem:
    Dont talk foolish if know nothing….Recommend

  • Abbas
    Oct 10, 2015 - 11:18PM

    Turkey helped terrorists to destroy Syria like Pakistan helped terrorists in 80s to destroy Afghanistan. Now Turkey will have same future as Pakistan. Recommend

  • cautious
    Oct 11, 2015 - 4:25AM

    @Abdullah:

    Think before shaking hand with usa
    government, they are destroying every
    Muslim country.

    Bias and ignorance are a bad combo. Turkey has been a close alley of the USA long before you were born and is even one of the founding members of NATO. This massacre is a terrible event that has zero to do with USA.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Oct 11, 2015 - 4:49AM

    Edrogen’s dream of turning Turkey into Pakistan is coming true and the past sins of Turkey gas karma get back at it in full force. Before Pakistanis worry about Hindu right, they should know that it looks like primary school game compared to the Muslim right, which is right out of stone age. The non Muslim world is turning right after watching the perfidy of Muslims.Recommend

  • Nero
    Oct 11, 2015 - 5:54AM

    @ Milind: Yes, and all the Indians should be grateful to Shiv Sena for not forcing hinduism on them? Shiv Sena is a localized predominantly Marathi party which looks to find soft “enemies” to fool people during elections. They were beating South Indians in 1980s, Muslims in 1990s and UP and Bihar people in 2000s. Just a bunch of political hooligans with a strong local constituency and lots of nuisance value. Please spare us the pretense that it is some kind of “nationalist” party. Recommend

  • curious2
    Oct 11, 2015 - 6:17AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:

    Why these rally organizers provide
    soft targets to terrorists? Haven’t
    they learnt lesson after so many years
    of war?

    It’s a peaceful political rally – something the govt is suppose to protect. Blaming the victims is inappropriate.Recommend

  • Milind
    Oct 11, 2015 - 9:30AM

    @Nero – “Shiv Sena is a localized predominantly Marathi party which looks to find soft “enemies” to fool people during elections. They were beating South Indians in 1980s, Muslims in 1990s and UP and Bihar people in 2000s.”

    Yes… But name one party which does not follow divisive and cynical politics. Congress does, AAP’s Shazia Ilmi too curried favour with fundamentalist Muslims, Ram Vilas Paswan had a Osama bin Laden lookalike to campaign for him in Muslim majority areas. So Sena does this openly.. As far as beating South Indians, yes they were beaten up, but they continue to live and thrive here, for Muslims, they started the riots first by attacking and killing Hindu labourers unrelated to the Babri episode and Sena retaliated. Beating up Biharis is news to me… Looks like you have a tendency to exaggerate just like our secular press..Recommend

  • Ashraf
    Oct 11, 2015 - 9:47AM

    Erdogan is the next Saddam Hussain. Kurds are his favorite prey.Recommend

  • Zaida
    Oct 11, 2015 - 9:50AM

    Erdogan’s role model is Pakistan !! Recommend

  • Skywalker
    Oct 11, 2015 - 5:10PM

    Turkey and China don’t get along for now. May be when Turkey becomes Pakistan, things will change. Oh boy, Pakistan is great!!Recommend

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