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Turkey police clash with students protesting car bombings

Turkish police crack down on student protest against government support for Syrian rebels, who students blame for Saturday's twin bombings near border

AFP , Wednesday 15 May 2013
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Turkish police on Wednesday fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse hundreds of students demonstrating in Ankara against government policies they say resulted in last weekend's deadly twin bombings.

Some 300 students hurled stones at the police as they vowed that those behind the car bombs in Reyhanli, near the Syrian border, "will pay a price" and demanded the resignation of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

The attacks on Saturday, the deadliest in Turkey in years, killed at least 51 people and increased fears that the two-year conflict in Syria was dragging in neighbouring states.

Turkey has blamed a radical Marxist group affiliated with President Bashar al-Assad's regime for the attack. Damascus has denied involvement.

The bombings have raised questions over the government's Syria policy with critics accusing Ankara of becoming a rear base for rebels and extremists fighting to topple Assad's regime, drawing the ire of Damascus.

Turkey broke ties with former ally Damascus after its calls for a peaceful resolution of the conflict -- which is now in its third year and has left more than 80,000 people dead -- went unheeded.

Ankara has sided with the rebels fighting to topple Assad's regime and has taken in around 400,000 refugees as well as army defectors. It has also repeatedly blamed the international community for inaction.

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