Turkish police, mourners clash near Ankara blasts site
Clashes have erupted in the Turkish capital city of Ankara after police prevented pro-Kurdish politicians and other mourners from laying carnations at the site of the recent deadly blasts.
Thousands of people filled Sihhiye Square, located close to the site of the bombings in central Ankara, to remember the victims of the attacks, with some of them shouting anti-government slogans.
Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag Senoglu, co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), were held back by police as they tried to approach the site of the incident. Police said that investigators were still working at the explosions’ site.
However, some 70 mourners were eventually allowed to enter the cordoned-off area to pay respect to the victims. They later marched on Sihhiye Square.
On Saturday, twin explosions targeted activists who had convened outside Ankara’s main train station for a peace rally organized by leftist and pro-Kurdish opposition groups. Ankara has said at least 95 people were killed and 246 wounded in the attacks.
Following the blasts, Demirtas said the attack was a repeat of the bombing of an HDP rally in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir ahead of the June 7 elections and a July 20 bombing blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in the town of Suruc. He also criticized the Turkish government for its security and intelligence failure to prevent the attacks.
The Turkish government has declared three days of national mourning over the fatal Ankara blasts, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying that there were “strong signs” that the attacks were carried out by two bombers who blew themselves up.
On Saturday night, thousands of people also held a demonstration in the Turkish city of Istanbul in protest against the explosions.