• Saturday, Jan 23, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:14 am

Scuffles break out as police hold back Turkish mourners

  • Published at 09:16 am October 11th, 2015

Scuffles broke out Sunday in the Turkish capital as police prevented pro-Kurdish politicians and other mourners from laying carnations at the site of two suspected suicide bombings that killed 95 people and wounded hundreds in Turkey's deadliest attack in years.

Turkey declared three days of mourning following Saturday's nearly simultaneous explosions that targeted a peace rally in Ankara. The rally was attended by activists, labor unions and members of the pro-Kurdish party.

Read more: Turkey: Death toll in Ankara bomb attacks rises to 95

The party's co-leaders, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, on Sunday planned to hold a memorial for the victims. They were held back by police who insisted investigators were still working at the site.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks but Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Kurdish rebels and Islamic State militants were the most likely culprits.

The two explosions occurred seconds apart outside the capital's main train station as hundreds of opposition supporters and Kurdish activists gathered for the peace rally organized by Turkey's public workers' union and other groups. The protesters planned to call for increased democracy in Turkey and an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces.

The attacks Saturday came at a tense time for Turkey, a NATO member that borders war-torn Syria and has seen renewed fighting with Kurdish rebels that has left hundreds dead in the last few months.

Many people at the rally had been anticipating that the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, would declare a temporary cease-fire — which it did hours after the bombing — to ensure that Turkey's Nov 1 election would be held in a safe environment.

Thousands gathered near Istanbul's main square late Saturday to denounce the attacks and held the government responsible.

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