Twin blasts kill 86 people at peace rally in Turkish capital
Ankara: At least 86
people were killed when two suspected suicide bombers hit a rally of
pro-Kurdish and leftist activists outside Ankara's main train station on
Saturday, weeks ahead of an election, in the deadliest attack of its kind on
Bodies covered by flags
and banners, including those of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic
Party (HDP), lay scattered on the road among bloodstains and body parts.
"Like other terror
attacks, the one at the Ankara train station targets our unity, togetherness,
brotherhood and future," President Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement,
calling for "solidarity and determination".
Health Minister Mehmet
Muezzinoglu told a news conference that 86 people had been killed and 186
wounded, 28 of whom were in intensive care. The death toll could rise further.
Witnesses said the two
explosions happened seconds apart shortly after 1000 a.m. as hundreds gathered
for a planned march to protest over a conflict between Turkish security forces
and Kurdish militants in the southeast.
"I heard one big
explosion first and tried to cover myself as the windows broke. Right away
there was the second one," said Serdar, 37, who was working at a newspaper
stand in the train station. "There was shouting and crying and I stayed
under the newspapers for a while. I could smell burnt flesh."
There were no claims of
responsibility for the attack. But the NATO member has been in a heightened
state of alert since starting a "synchronized war on terror" in July,
including air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq. It has also rounded up hundreds of
suspected Kurdish and Islamist militants at home. (With agency inputs)