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Erdogan: Ankara bombing 'collective terrorist act'

Turkey's President Erdogan has pinned responsibility for the Ankara attack on a "terror collective". According to him, this included the "Islamic State," Turkish and Syrian Kurds and the Syrian intelligence service.

"This is a total collective terrorist act," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a gathering of a trade union on Thursday, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

He referred to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the self-styled "Islamic State" (IS), Syria's state-controlled military intelligence service and the Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD) from Syria, claiming that they all "planned this operation together."

The Kurdistan Workers' Party and its affiliates are fighting in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State, which in turn is occupying parts of Syria. Erdogan is known as one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's critics.

More than 100 people were killed when two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside Ankara's central train station on October 10. After first blaming the PKK, Turkish authorities then said the jihadist group IS was the "number one suspect" for the attack.

The worst terrorist attack in the history of the Turkish Republic came less than a month before the hotly-contested parliamentary election on November 1. It targeted a liberal peace rally in Ankara which had called for an end to hostilities between Turkish security forces and Kurdish rebels.

Investigations into the attack are ongoing. On Monday, the government claimed that one of the suicide bombers was Yunus Emre Alagoz. He was the brother of a man suspected of a similar attack in Suruc that killed 34 people in July. The second Ankara suicide bomber has yet to be formally identified.

The pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) accused the state of failing to protect the peace rally in the Turkish capital, which was organized by leftists and Kurdish movements.

On Thursday, local media reported that a 15-year-old schoolboy was detained by police in Turkey for allegedly "insulting" the president. It is illegal under Turkish law to insult the president and those found guilty risk facing up to four years in jail. The media did not disclose details on the boy's alleged insult.

das/msh (AFP, dpa)

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