After the two deadly explosions that rocked Ankara, Turkey, on Saturday, thousands of people gathered to mourn the death of those killed during a peace rally.
A huge crowd running into thousands gathered in the streets of Ankara in Turkey a day after two powerful explosions rocked the city. These explosions were meant for a peace rally that was underway. The two explosions specifically targeted the pro-Kurdish peace rally near main train station. The people were protesting against excessive violence between authorities and the Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), reported the Guardian.
The protesters merely wanted for the violence between PKK and the Turkish government to end, lamented Sajjan Gohel, the international security director at the Asia-Pacific Foundation in London.
“This was supposed to be a peace rally. This was supposed to be about bringing Turkey together to show unity amongst the Turks and the Kurds and the other ethnic groups. This attack very much has now ripped that apart.”
So far, no group has come forward to claim responsibility for the explosions in Ankara, which appears to be orchestrated using suicide bombers, said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a televised address to the nation. He has urged the citizens to remain calm during such times and explained that these attacks weren’t meant to attack any group in particular, but were meant to destabilize the nation which is on the cusp of deciding its new leadership.
“This is an attack that does not target a specific group; it is an attack on the entire nation and (an) attack on our unity. Turkey is a country that has managed to maintain peace in the region.”
These explosions are part of the deadliest single terrorist attack on Turkish soil in modern times. Moreover, the authorities are confident that the terrorist group that are behind the explosions, wish to derail the national elections which were scheduled to happen in just three weeks.
The fate of the elections and the new government now appears to be in limbo. Perhaps it was the specific intention to cause a political rift, fear the authorities. However, these acts of violence will undoubtedly drive a deeper wedge between Turkey’s various ethnicities and stretch the already thin and fragile social fabric of Turkey, added Gohel.
“An attack that took place in Ankara is very much designed to create political, economic and social repercussions, and one worries that in the build up to the elections there could be follow-up events that further damage the social fabric of Turkey.”
Gohel further cautioned that the perpetrators behind the deadly explosions should be quickly apprehended and brought to justice, failing which, Turkey may fall into chaos.
“It’s very important that cool heads prevail, that there is a proper investigation, that the culprits are identified quickly and also then brought to justice. Without answers, public anger could intensify.”
The twin explosions have so far claimed 95 lives, but the death toll could rise. Owing to the enormity of the explosions, multiple hospitals in Ankara have so far admitted more than 250 people who were injured during the explosions or in the aftermath. The explosions were so powerful, they shook high rise buildings, reported CNN. In the chaos that ensued, many people were injured.
A day after the twin explosions, thousands of mourners gathered at the exact spot. These protestors were chanting “We want justice” and “Erdogan is a thief and murderer” during the rally, in reference to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, reported USA Today. Majority of the protestors were believed to be from pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The police restored to deploying tear gas to get the crowd to disperse. Many complained that all that they wanted was to lay some carnations for the victims of the Ankara explosions.
[Image Credit | Gokhan Tan / Getty Images]