Ankara bombing kills at least 30 at Turkish peace rally

Turkish government says twin explosion a "terrorist attack."

By REUTERS
October 10, 2015 12:05
2 minute read.
anakara attack

People lay on the ground as survivors surround them to offer help after an explosion during a peace march in Ankara, Turkey, October 10, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Thirty people were killed and 126 were wounded in two explosions outside the main train station in the Turkish capital Ankara on Saturday, the Turkish Interior Ministry said.

The wounded were being treated in various hospitals after the explosions which occurred at 10:04 a.m. (0704 GMT) as people gathered for a rally organized by unions and civil society groups, the ministry said in a written statement.

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A Reuters reporter saw at least 20 bodies covered by flags and banners, including those of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), with bloodstains and body parts scattered on the road.

Authorities were investigating claims the attacks were carried out by a suicide bomber, two government officials told Reuters. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was due to hold an emergency meeting with the heads of the police and intelligence agencies and other senior officials, his office said.

Witnesses said the two explosions happened seconds apart as hundreds gathered for a planned "peace" march to protest against the conflict between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants in the southeast.

Violence between the state and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants has flared since July, when Turkey launched air strikes on militant camps in response to what it said were rising attacks on the security forces. Hundreds have since died.

Those involved in the peace march tended to the wounded lying on the ground, as hundreds of stunned people wandered around the streets. Bodies lay in two circles around 20 meters apart where the explosions had taken place.



The attacks come three weeks ahead of a parliamentary election in Turkey and at a time of multiple security threats, not only in the restive southeast but also from Islamic State militants in neighboring Syria and home-grown leftist militants.

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 PKK bases in northern Iraq. It has also rounded up hundreds of suspected militants at home.

Designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, the PKK launched a separatist insurgency in 1984 in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

The state launched peace talks with the PKK's jailed leader in 2012 and the latest in a series of ceasefires had been holding until the violence flared again in July.

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