Turkey observed a day of mourning on Sunday after twin bombings killed 38 people near an Istanbul football stadium in attacks authorities said were likely the work of Kurdish militants.
A car bomb detonated on Saturdaynight outside the home stadium of football giants Besiktas after a Super Lig match against Bursaspor, and less than a minute later a suicide attacker blew himself up near a group of police at a nearby park, reports AFP.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who postponed foreign travel, declared Turkey would “fight terrorism to the end”. He and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim attended the funeral of five of the 30 police officers killed, while flags were ordered flown at half mast. In a solemn ceremony at Istanbul’s police headquarters the leaders spoke with the victims’ families and watched as officers carried their coffins draped with the Turkish flag.
“Sooner or later we will have our revenge”, Interior Minister Suleman Soylu told the mourners.
“The arm of the law is long”. People also gathered outside the Besiktas stadium to lay flowers, many holding Turkish flags and shouting “Down with the PKK!” and “Our homeland is indivisible!” Soylu said 30 police, seven civilians and an unidentified person had died in the blasts and 155 were wounded. Thirteen people have been detained over the blasts.
“The findings point to the PKK as the authors” of the attacks, Soylu said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, speaking on CNN Turk television, said the attack had targeted the police.
“Experts say at least 300-400 kilogrammes of explosives had been used. There was a pit where the car detonated,” he said. A forensic team inspected the stadium and the park to collect evidence, an AFP journalist said, while municipal workers cleaned up the area.
State broadcaster TRT late Sunday showed images of the wreckage of a car engulfed in flames with emergency services swarming around the scene outside the sports venue.
Other footage showed wrecked police vehicles, while witnesses said the force of the blast shattered the windows of nearby homes.