ANKARA, Oct 11 (APS) – Thousands of people, many chanting anti-government slogans, gathered in central Ankara on Sunday near the scene of bomb blasts which killed at least 95 people, mourning the victims of the most deadly attack of its kind on Turkish soil.
According to a Reuters report that two suspected suicide bombers hit a rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists near Ankara’s main train station on Saturday, three weeks before an election, shocking a nation beset by conflict between the state and Kurdish militants.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a major presence at Saturday’s march, said police attacked its leaders and members as they tried to leave carnations earlier at the scene. Some were hurt in the melee, it said in a statement.
“Murderer (President Tayyip) Erdogan,” “murderer police,” the crowd chanted in Sihhiye square, as riot police backed by water cannon vehicles blocked a main highway leading to the district where parliament and government buildings are located.
The government denies any suggestion of involvement. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, exposing a mosaic of domestic political perils, said Islamic State, Kurdish militant factions or far-leftist radicals could have carried out the bombing.
Some have suggested militant nationalists opposed to any accommodation with Kurds seeking greater minority rights could have been responsible.
Turkish investigators worked on Sunday to identify the perpetrators and victims of the attack. Newspaper headlines reflected the mixture of grief and anger.
“We are in mourning for peace,” said the front-page headline in the secularist Cumhuriyet newspaper as three days of national mourning declared by the prime minister got underway. “Scum Launch attack in Ankara,” said the Haberturk newspaper. “The goal is to divide the nation,” said the pro-government Star.