At least 86 killed in twin blast in Turkey’s Ankara ahead of peace rally


Two explosions shook a road junction in the center of the Turkish capital Ankara on Oct. 10, causing many casualties including fatalities, at least 86 according to the Interior Ministry, ahead of a “peace” meeting, Doğan News Agency reported.

126 people were injured at the attacks, the ministry said in a written statement.

However, the chief public prosecutor in Ankara said the death toll was even higher.

86 people died at the attack scene as 17 others died at the hospitals, Prosecutor Harun Kodalak told Hürriyet.

“Some remain under critical condition. We fear that the death toll will rise,” he said.

Osman Nacar, the head of the emergency desk at the ministry, said 20 people were heavily wounded.

The blasts were at the two sides of the exit of the main train station in the city, where the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) supporters were gathering.

The cause of the blasts was not immediately clear.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported that it could be a suicide bomber, as eye witnesses said human flesh was all over the scene.

Blasts occurred ahead of a planned “peace” march organized by labor unions and a number of NGOs to protest against the conflict between the state and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeast Turkey.

Organizers have cancelled the meeting, calling on participants from other cities to return. They also called on people to donate blood for numbers of injured people atAnkara hospitals.

The police emptied the scene to avoid more casualties in any possible third attack.

The police fired in the air to disperse protesters from the scene. Demonstrators angered by the attack on their fellow activists shouted “police murderers,” AFP reported, but were then dispersed as the security forces intervened.

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said in Istanbul that the attack was very similar to the two recent attacks in Diyarbakır and Suruç. “The toll is very high,” he said.

On June 5, two days before the general elections that took HDP to the parliament as a party group, four people died in a twin bomb attack on a HDP rally in Diyarbakır, one of the strongholds of the party in the southeast, where Demirtaş was scheduled to address the crowd.

Turkey is now heading for a re-election on Nov 1, as the former election failed to produce a one-party or coalition government.

A sum of 33 people died in a July 20 attack on a socialist youth group by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the southeastern district of Suruç.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cancelled all scheduled programs.Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will meet with with Deputy PM Yalçın Akdoğan, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzionğlu, Interior Minister Selami Altınok, the police chief, the intel chief and Ankara Mayor at noon in Ankara, CNNTürk reported.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaorğlu said Turkey does not deserve this, also announcing that his party has cancelled all events today.

The party is ready to lend any support to end terrorism, he said. “We are ready with all our power,” he said.

“We have to spent joint efforts,” he said.

CHP deputy leader Gürsel Tekin said a number of lawmakers from his party were planning to attend the meeting to lend support for the call for peace. Musa Kart, one of those deputies, shared the photo of an iron shot on the social media, saying that such pieces dropped from the air.

Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland has condemned the attack.

“The news from Ankara this morning is shocking and disturbing. This is a ruthless and barbaric attack on peaceful demonstrators. I express my condolences to all who have lost their friends and loved ones. Freedom of assembly and freedom of expression are fundamental pillars of democracy”, said Jagland in a written statement.

The rally was organized by the Confederation of Public Sector Trades’ Unions (KESK), Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB).