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Turkish president pays homage at Ankara bombing site

AFP , Wednesday 14 Oct 2015
Turkey protests
Demonstrators are stopped by the police during a protest against Saturday's Ankara bombings, in Istanbul, Turkey, October 13, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid homage on Wednesday at the site of weekend twin bombings in Ankara, as he seeks to deflect criticism of alleged security lapses over the country's deadliest attack.

Along with Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto, Erdogan laid a wreath in front of the city's railway station where two suicide bombers blew themselves up on Saturday in a crowd of leftist and pro-Kurdish activists attending a peace rally, killing 97 people.

The government has said the Islamic State (IS) group is the prime suspect behind the attack, which also injured more than 500.

The bombings have raised political tensions to new highs as Turkey prepares for a November 1 snap election, with polarisation within the country now greater than ever.

Erdogan has admitted there were security shortcomings but said their magnitude would only be made clear later. He has ordered a top-level probe into the bombings.

There have been growing indications that the authorities are focusing on possible parallels or even links to a July 20 suicide bombing at a peace rally in Suruc on the Syrian border that killed 34.

The government blamed IS for that attack, which also targeted a gathering of pro-Kurdish and leftist activists.

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