Turks rally to honour Ankara bombing victims

AFP , Saturday 17 Oct 2015

More than 1,000 people rallied in towns around Turkey on Saturday in honour of the 102 people killed in last weekend's double suicide bombing in Ankara.

The biggest demonstration was in Istanbul, where around 1,000 gathered to remember those killed in the deadliest attack in the country's modern history, carrying pictures of the dead and signs saying "We know the killer".

Only a few anti-government slogans disturbed the silence at the protest in a square sealed off by left-wing activists to try to prevent a repeat of last week's carnage, which targeted a peace rally.

Earlier, at 10:04 am (0704 GMT) -- the exact time of the attack -- hundreds of people gathered at the scene of the blast outside Ankara's main railway station, laying flowers for the dead.

The government has said the Islamic State (IS) group is the prime suspect in the bombing but has also refused to rule out the involvement of Kurdish or leftist militants, even though most of the dead were Kurdish or leftists.

Turkish media reports on Wednesday said the two bombers had been identified as Yunus Emre Alagoz, brother of the man who carried out a similar attack in Suruc in July that killed 34 people, and Omer Deniz Dundar who had twice been to Syria in recent times.

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

Pressure has piled on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with opposition figures blaming him for security lapses over the Ankara attack.

For almost three months, Turkey has been waging an offensive against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who have responded with attacks of their own, killing over 140 members of the security forces.

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