Turkey in Mourning After Blasts

Turkey in Mourning After BlastsTurkey in Mourning After Blasts

Turkey has begun three days of mourning after deadly explosions killed and wounded scores of people at a peace rally in the capital, Ankara. The attack threatens to exacerbate the country’s ethnic tensions.

Turkey started its official mourning period on Sunday after the twin blasts at a peace rally of leftist and pro-Kurdish activists in the capital the day before killed at least 95 people and wounded hundreds of others in what was the country’s deadliest attack in years.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared three days of mourning on Saturday after the attacks, suggesting that Kurdish rebels or Islamic State group militants were to blame.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the bombings, which Davutoglu said bore “strong signs” of having been carried out by one or more suicide attackers.

  Fraught Situation

The attacks come at a tense time for Turkey, which is currently embroiled in fresh offensives against rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that have left hundreds dead.

Saturday’s peace rally was to have called for an end to the renewed violence and for increased democracy in Turkey.

Following the attacks on Saturday, the PKK issued a statement that it was halting hostilities to allow the country’s November 1 election to proceed in peace. The government, however, said late on Friday it would continue its operations against the group until it disarms.

The HDP leader, Selahattin Demirtas, also blamed Ankara for involvement in Saturday’s attacks, saying they had been carried out by a “murderous state”.

Erdogan has been accused by many of increasing tensions with the Kurds in a bid to bring voters back to the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, after it lost its majority in a June election after a decade of single-party rule owing largely to gains by the pro-Kurdish party.

Tens of thousands of people marched in Istanbul and other Turkish cities on Saturday evening to denounce the bombings.