Ankara explosion: 86 Killed In Turkey Twin Blasts At Peace Rally
Ankara explosion: 86 Killed In Turkey Twin Blasts At Peace Rally

Ankara explosion: 86 Killed In Turkey Twin Blasts At Peace Rally “Video”

ANKARA – More than 80 people were killed after two bomb explosions hit the Turkish capital of Ankara on Saturday.

Turkey’s health minister confirmed the death of 86 people and the injury of 186 others.

Hundreds of people were gathering for a peace rally outside Ankara’s main train station when two explosions hit the crowd.

Graphic images on social media showed bodies lying in the streets and the wounded sitting in shock, covered in blood.

Witnesses at the scene described survivors covering people’s bodies with flags and banners, including those of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on roads filled with body parts and blood.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry said the explosions were a terror attack, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, and the health minister put the toll at 86 dead and 186 wounded.

A spokesperson condemned the attack, saying it “targets Turkey’s democracy and peace“, and said authorities were investigating claims a suicide bomber was responsible.

Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said: ”This is a ruthless and barbaric attack on peaceful demonstrators. Freedom of assembly and freedom of expression are fundamental pillars of democracy.”

The protest, organised by trade unions, was being held to denounce the increased violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces.

Lami Ozgen, head of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, which organised the protest, said two bombs “exploded in very short intervals”.

“There was a massacre in the middle of Ankara,” he added.

Violence between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants has flared in recent months, with Turkey launching operations in response to what it said were rising attacks on security forces in the predominantly Kurdish south-east. Hundreds have since died.

The country has been on high alert since starting its “synchronised war on terror” in July, including air strikes against Isis in Syria and Kurdish fighters with the People’s Defence Force in northern Iraq.

It has also rounded up hundreds of suspected Kurdish and Islamist militants at home.

An HDP rally in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir was bombed on the eve of the last election in June and a suicide bombing blamed on Isis killed 33 mainly pro-Kurdish activists in the town of Suruc, near the Syrian border, in July.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had cancelled the next three days of election campaigning and called emergency meeting with ministers and security officials.

“We’re ready to come together and work sincerely to finish terror,” the leader of the main opposition party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, told reporters.

The PKK called on its fighters and supporters to stop guerrilla activities in Turkey and only fight if they were directly attacked in the wake of Saturday’s bombing.

Firat news agency reported the head of the PKK as saying the decision was taken in response to calls from within and outside Turkey and that its fighters would avoid acts which could prevent a “fair and just election” being held on 1 November.


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