Ankara bombing: Turkey says Islamic State prime suspect in deadly twin blasts as protests erupt

Islamic State (IS) is the prime suspect in suicide bombings that killed at least 97 people in Ankara, Turkey says, as protests erupt over the authorities' failure to ensure security.


"Looking at how the incident took place, we are probing Daesh as our first priority," prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, using an alternative Arabic acronym for IS.
He said that the attacks at a peace rally in Ankara were definitely carried out by two suicide bombers.
"We are close to identifying one of the bombers," he told NTV television, adding that this would help name the organisation behind the attacks.

Mr Davutoglu however remained cautious, saying that authorities were also investigating the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) as "potential suspects".

At least 97 people were killed in the double suicide bombing at the peace rally by leftist and pro-Kurdish activists in central Ankara, the deadliest attack in the history of modern Turkey.

The protests come as the Turkish government said it had imposed a temporary news blackout following the suspected suicide bombing at the pro-Kurdish march in Ankara. A government spokesman said the media censorship was of pictures showing the moment of the blast, gruesome or bloody images or “images that create a feeling of panic”. He said that news outlets could face a “full blackout” if they did not comply with the order.

Demonstrators in Istanbul accuse Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of slow action after Ankara terror attack on peace rally, and of censoring press and social media. Many people in Ankara reported being unable to access Twitter and other social media after the blasts. It was not clear whether authorities had blocked access to the sites.

On Monday, hundreds of people chanting anti-government slogans marched towards a mosque in an Istanbul suburb for the funeral of several victims of the twin bombings.

The funerals were due to be attended by Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which said it was the target of the blasts.
Some in attendance chanted anti-government slogans, such as "Thief, Murderer Erdogan", and waved HDP flags.

Meanwhile, riot police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse demonstrators protesting the bombing in both Istanbul and in the Kurdish dominated south-eastern city of Diyarbakir. Mr Davutoglu vowed that November 1 legislative elections would go ahead, despite the bombing.

"We will hold the elections under whatever circumstances," he said.

Turkey expert Hugh Pope told the ABC's The World program that "Islamic State is aiming much higher than the elections in November".

"Islamic State has declared war on the Turkish system which is 90-year-old secular Republic that is trying to reconcile all the diversion elements of Turkey into a modern state — Islamic State is the antithesis of that," he said.

"Islamic State must be trying to drive a wedge between the Kurdish and Turkish populations in Turkey in order to ferment chaos in which only groups like it can get stronger."



ABC.net.au