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Dissent - not solidarity - follows bloodbath in Ankara

The bomb blasts in Ankara have exacerbated the political tensions in Turkey. The first accusations were made very soon after the attack. DW's Thomas Seibert reports from Istanbul.

A weeping woman runs across the square in front of the train station in Turkey's capital, Ankara. "I can't find my children, I can't find my children," she cries. Near her, a man is consoling a weeping woman in his arms. Both of their faces are covered in blood splatter. A sign with "Peace - right now" written on it has been propped on a wall near them and a pool of blood has been growing on the pavement in front of it.

The square looks like a war zone after the severe attack. Dead bodies lie on the street, injured people are screaming for help, and the ambulance sirens do not cease. Suicide bombers blew themselves up amid a crowd just as a scheduled rally of left-wing and Kurdish organizations was about to take place.

The medical association of Ankara has called on all available physicians to provide assistance in hospital emergency units as there is not enough staff to help the many wounded. Thousands of people have gone to donate blood. Authorities have set up an additional morgue because of the high death toll.

Only a few minutes after the two explosions that had taken place seconds apart from each other, the first tensions between police and demonstrators were felt. Several demonstrators attacked a police car because they were certain that the state was involved in the attack.

Others have complained that the ambulances arrived at the scene only after considerable delay, even though the attack occurred in the middle of Ankara. The police apparently even fired tear gas at helpers who tried to take care of the injured. Several ministers who arrived at the site to analyze the situation were chased away by an angry crowd.

A massacre

The first accusations were made very soon after the attack. Selehattin Demirtas, head of HDP, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, spoke of a massacre. The bombs were set off on the spot where the HDP was to meet before the rally. The HDP and other organizations went to the rally to appeal for a stop to the violence between government security forces and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). HDP officials believe that the government is responsible for the recent escalation of the conflict.

Observers agree that the attackers' aim was to destroy the peace process - or whatever was left of it. After months of battling between the army and police, the PKK was expected to announce a new ceasefire in the hours before the bomb attack. "Whoever it is, they do not want the current fights end in Turkey," tweeted the London-based Turkish researcher Ziya Meral. But if that had been the bombers' intention, it backfired: After the explosion, the PKK - as expected - announced a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other politicians have asked Turks not to allow the perpetrators of the attack to stir up hatred against each other. Politicians from the government and opposition have canceled election campaign appointments for the coming days.

But that does not mean that tensions will be eased in the three weeks before the snap elections on November 1. Quite the contrary: Critics accuse Erdogan of having intentionally incited the conflict between the state and PKK since the summer in order to win over the conservative electorate for the Justice and Development Party. And pro-government journalist Fatih Tezcan has attributed the bloodbath in Ankara to the HDP. He believes that the party wants to win the sympathy vote.

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