Thousands Rally, Mourn Ankara Bombing Victims

Above photo: Demonstrators chant slogans and flash the V-sign during a rally to protest against the bombing in Ankara on Saturday. Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Demonstrators gather in central Ankara near Saturday’s attack site, condemning attack that killed at least 95 people.

Ankara, Turkey – Thousands of people have attended a rally in Ankara under heavy security to remember the at least 95 people killed in twin bombings in the Turkish capital.

The demonstrators on Sunday filled Sihhiye Square in central Ankara, close to the site of Saturday’s blasts outside the city’s train station, with some shouting anti-government slogans.

The rally was called by labour unions, leftist groups, NGOs and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – the same groups that had called the peace rally targeted in Saturday’s attack.

Two senior officials told Reuters news agency that initial signs pointed to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) responsibility in the Ankara bombings.

However, several demonstrators blamed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the attack, shouting “Erdogan murderer”, “Government resign”, and “The state will give account”.

The government has ridiculed suggestions it could be implicated in the bombings.

President Erdogan denounced what he called a “heinous attack” targeting “our unity and our country’s peace”.

Declaring three days of mourning on Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were “strong signs” the attack was carried out by two suicide bombers.

Davutoglu said no one had claimed responsibility for the bombings, but that groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) were capable of carrying out such an attack.

International condemnation of the bloodshed was swift. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed “sadness and dismay” over the attacks, while US President Barack Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin offered their condolences to Erdogan. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attack was an “impudent act of terrorism”.

Amateur footage filmed moments before the blasts and broadcast on local NTV television showed smiling activists holding hands and dancing before suddenly falling to the ground as a huge explosion went off behind them.

Turkey has experienced an upsurge in unrest in recent months, which began after over 30 people were killed in the predominantly Kurdish town of Suruc on July 20 in an attack on pro-HDP activists that was blamed on ISIL.

The outlawed PKK accused Ankara of collaborating with ISIL and resumed attacks on the security forces after observing a two-year ceasefire.

Over 140 members of the security forces have since been killed, while Ankara claims to have killed more than 1,700 Kurdish fighters in weeks of bombardments of PKK targets in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq.

The PKK, which took up arms in 1984 demanding an independent state for Kurds, on Saturday announced it would suspend all offensive operations against Turkish forces ahead of the polls.

The HDP performed strongly in the last election in June, winning 80 seats in parliament to deprive Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK party) of an outright majority for the first time since it came to power in 2002.

The AK party then failed to form a coalition in months of talks, prompting Erdogan – who had been hoping for a large majority to push through reforms to boost his powers – to call for fresh polls on November 1.

Solidarity Rallies Were Held:

Tens of thousands marched in Istanbul –


Placards reading "Killer state" are seen as protesters take part in a march against the deadly attack earlier in Ankara on October 10, 2015 at the Istiklal avenue in Istanbul. (AFP)

Placards reading “Killer state” are seen as protesters take part in a march against the deadly attack earlier in Ankara on October 10, 2015 at the Istiklal avenue in Istanbul. (AFP)


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