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Sunday , January 17 2021

86 killed in Turkey’s deadliest attack; HIS HIGHNESS THE AMIR OFFERS CONDOLENCES

turkeyKUWAIT CITY, Oct 10, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent on Saturday a cable of condolences to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressing his heartfelt sympathy and sorrow after the twin bombings in capital Ankara, which left scores of people killed and injured His Highness the Amir affirmed Kuwait’s strong condemnation of the two terrorist operations which targeted innocent civilians and the security and stability of the country. His Highness wished in his cable speedy recovery for the injured in this terrible accident and solace for the families of those who lost their loved ones. His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al- Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Ankara Abdullah Al-Thuwaikh said in Ankara on Saturday all Kuwaiti nationals who were unlucky to be in Ankara when two twin blasts hit the capital earlier today are “safe and sound”. “The embassy has not received any contact on possible harm to any Kuwaiti national (in Ankara),” the ambassador said in a statement to KUNA, advising Kuwaitis to keep a low profile in the Turkish capital. At least 86 people were killed Saturday in the Turkish capital Ankara when bombs set off by two suspected suicide attackers ripped through leftist and pro- Kurdish activists gathering for an antigovernment peace rally, the deadliest attack in the history of modern Turkey.

The attack, near Ankara’s main train station, ratcheted up tensions ahead of Turkey’s November 1 snap elections which were already soaring amid the government’s offensive on Kurdish militants. Bodies of the slain activists were seen strewn across the ground after the blasts, with the banners they had been holding for the “Work, Peace and Democracy” rally lying next to them. Sixty-two people died at the scene of the blasts and 24 more then succumbed to their wounds in hospital, Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu told reporters in Ankara. He said another 186 people had been injured in the attack, 28 of them seriously.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the “heinous attack”, saying it was aimed at “our unity and our country’s peace.” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were “strong signs” that the attack had been carried out by two suicide bombers. With the country shattered by the deadliest attack in the history of modern Turkey, Davutoglu declared three days of national mourning. There were scenes of chaos after the blasts, as ambulances raced to get to the wounded and police cordoned off the area around the train station. “We heard one huge blast and then one smaller explosion and then there was a great movement and panic. Then we saw corpses around the station,” said Ahmet Onen, 52. “A demonstration that was to promote peace has turned into a massacre, I don’t understand this,” he said, sobbing. Turkish police fired in the air to disperse demonstrators angered by the deaths of their fellow activists from the scene, an AFP correspondent reported.

Davutoglu said no group had claimed responsibility for the bombings. But he said groups including Islamic State (IS) jihadists, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) were capable of carrying out such an attack.

Amateur footage broadcast by NTV television showed smiling activists holding hands and dancing and then suddenly falling to the ground as a huge explosion went off behind them. Reports said that hundreds of people in Ankara had rushed to hospital to donate blood for the victims. The blast was the deadliest in the history of the modern Turkish Republic, surpassing the May 2013 twin bombings in Reyhanli on the Syrian border that killed over 50 people. With international concern growing over instability in the key NATO member, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urged Turkey to “stand united against terrorists.” French President Francois Hollande condemned the “odious terrorist attack” while Russian President Vladimir Putin passed his condolences to Erdogan. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said “the fact that this attack occurred ahead of a planned rally for peace underscores the depravity of those behind it.” The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was to have been one of several groups that was to have taken part in the pro-peace rally. “We are faced with a huge massacre. A barbaric attack has been committed,” said the HDP’s leader Selahattin Demirtas.

He blamed a “mafia state” and a “state mentality which acts like a serial killer” for the attack. One of those killed was Kubra Meltem Mollaoglu, an HDP member who was standing for parliament in the upcoming polls. The White House condemned what it called a “horrific terrorist” attack in the Turkish capital Ankara on Saturday that killed at least 86 people and wounded nearly 200. “The fact that this attack occurred ahead of a planned rally for peace underscores the depravity of those behind it and serves as another reminder of the need to confront shared security challenges in the region,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The attack ratcheted up tensions ahead of Turkey’s November 1 snap elections which were already soaring amid the government’s offensive on Kurdish militants. “The United States will continue to stand side-by-side with the Turkish government and people as together we take on the scourge of terrorism,” added Price, offering condolences to the victims and their families. “Far from deterring these efforts, such horrific acts of violence will only strengthen our resolve.” The State Department branded the attack “heinous.” “In light of the ongoing violence in Turkey and the region, it is particularly important at this time that all Turkish citizens recommit to peace and stand together against terror,” said spokesman John Kirby.

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