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Türkei Erdogan gedenkt Anschlagsopfern in Ankara
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/E. Gurel

Erdogan pays tribute to Ankara bombing victims

October 14, 2015

Turkey’s President Erdogan and his Finnish counterpart have visited the site of the weekend’s twin bombings in Ankara. Three top level security officials in the capital have been sacked for the probe into the incident.


Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Sauli Niinisto, along with their wives, went on Wednesday to the scene where 97 people died over the weekend. Two suicide bombers attacked a peace rally led by leftist and pro-Kurdish activists in the Turkish capital, wounding more than 500 people.

The Turkish and Finnish leaders laid flowers at the site near Ankara's railway station a day after Erdogan promised a comprehensive investigation into the admitted security lapses that led to the tragedy, though he stopped short of demanding any senior government officials to step down over the incident.

"We're running a country and are just people. All of us can make mistakes," German news agency DPA quoted him as saying.

The president has come under fire from critics over the bombings. Thousands of protestors who took the streets of Istanbul on Monday blamed "Thief, Murderer Erdogan" for the attack which targeted his political rivals.

Ankara security officials axed

Turkish media reported late on Tuesday, however, that the chief of police for Ankara province and his heads of intelligence and public security had been suspended by the country's interior minister. The ministry said it was a necessary move in order to conduct a thorough inquiry into Saturday's bombings.

The ministry did not, however, say whether the officials would be allowed to return to their posts after the investigation.

No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack, though the government suspects militants tied to the "Islamic State" ("IS") terrorist group.

On Wednesday, officials in Ankara said police had detained two people who sent out tweets the day before the attacks suggesting there could be bombings awaiting the capital. They said that the suspects had ties to the Kurdish rebel group that recently renewed fighting with the Turkish government.

The rally on Saturday was staged to call for an end to the conflict.

Following the arrests, the government announced that it had summoned the US and Russian envoys to its country to warn them against supplying arms or offering support for Syrian Kurdish forces fighting IS.

PKK puts campaign on hold

Saturday's rally was intended as a call for peace between Turkish security forces and Kurdish rebels, who have been locked in conflict for decades. Over the summer, two years of peace talks broke down, resulting in the renewal of hostilities between the two groups.

The militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) immediately declared a "state of inactivity" following the suicide bombings, putting its almost daily attacks on Turkish forces temporarily on hold. The PKK cited the country's elections, to be held in November despite mounting security concerns, as the reason for the ceasefire.

es/kms (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)

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