On Saturday, there were two bomb explosions at a “peace rally” in Ankara, the Turkish capital.
The number of killed varies in the news, but most outlets are reporting that “more than 100 people” died as a result of the blasts. Some news organizations call it the deadliest terror attack in Turkey’s history, others state it is the deadliest terror attack in recent history in Turkey.
Who organized the peace rally?
The BBC states that the pro-Kurdish HDP party organized Saturday’s rally. The Guardian writes that in addition to the HDP, pro-union and left-wing groups also took part.
Who is responsible for the bombing?
According to The Guardian, no group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, and the Turkish government has denied any part in it.
To make things worse, as thousands later gathered near the scene to mourn, brief scuffles broke out as police used teargas to prevent people from laying flowers at the site of the attack.
The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic party (HDP) said some members of its delegation sustained injuries from the police.
Witnesses and victims’ families felt that the government should have done more to protect the peace rally and that security should have been better. Mourners shouted anti-government slogans, and denounced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a “murderer” and a “thief”. Many blame his Justice and Development (AK) party for security failures at Saturday’s peace march.
According to the HDP, the number of people killed in the bombing stands at 128, all but eight of whom have been identified and their names published by the HDP’s crisis desk.
Security analysts have pointed out the similarities to a suicide bomb attack in the Turkish border town of Suruç that killed 33 Kurdish and Turkish activists in July, which the Turkish government blamed on ISIS.
According to The Guardian, the peace march was organized to call for an end to the escalating violence between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s party (PKK).
Saturday’s bomb attack in Ankara came three months after the breakdown of a mutual ceasefire between the Turkish government and the PKK. Hundreds of people have been killed in the escalating violence since then.
According to The Guardian, hours after the Ankara bombing, the PKK announced an expected unilateral ceasefire, in order to avoid acts that could obstruct a “fair and just election” on November 1st in Turkey.
On Saturday night, Turkish fighter jets launched airstrikes against PKK positions in Turkey and northern Iraq. The Kurds and the Kurdish PKK have been known for fighting against ISIS and other Islamic jihadists.
A statement by the general chief of staff said 49 militants were killed and shelters and gun positions were destroyed. Security operations were also reported from the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbakir.