A Bombing in Turkey’s Capital

Suicide bombers targeted a pro-Kurdish peace protest in Ankara, killing at least 95.


Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET.

Two bombs ripped through a large crowd during a peace protest on Saturday morning in Ankara, Turkey’s capital. At least 95 people died in the blasts, according to the Turkish prime minister’s office, and another 186 were wounded.

Video footage of the attacks shows protesters chanting and dancing outside Ankara’s central train station as the bombers struck. Hundreds had gathered to demonstrate against violence between the Turkish government and Kurdish militant groups in the country’s east. The bombings also occur less than three weeks Turks go to the polls for a snap parliamentary election on November 1.

“I strongly condemn this heinous attack on our unity and our country’s peace,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “No matter what its origin, aim or name, we are against any form of terrorist act or terrorist organization. We are obliged to be against it together.” The BBC reported that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed two suicide bombers had carried out the attack. Their allegiance, if any, is currently unknown.

Militant Kurdish groups and the Turkish government abandoned a ceasefire in July, with Turkish forces carrying out airstrikes soon thereafter. In addition to its own internal turmoil, Turkey increasingly finds itself surrounded by international crisis. Over 1.6 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees have migrated to Turkey to escape conflict in their home countries, according to the United Nations. Many live in vast camps on the porous southern border, straining the government’s resources and manpower.

In Istanbul and other Turkish cities, small protests broke out against the government’s response to the bombings. Turkish authorities banned the broadcast of pictures or video from the attack that “create a feeling of panic.” Twitter and Facebook also partially went down throughout the country, although it was unclear if official censorship had caused the outages.