Funerals held across the nation as anger grows over government’s inability to prevent country’s deadliest attack.
Turkish interior ministry fired Ankara’s top police chief and two other officials as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted security shortcomings may have led to a double suicide bombing in the capital that killed 97 people.
Announcing the first dismissals in the wake of the disaster, the interior ministry said on Wednesday Ankara police chief Kadri Kartal as well as the head of the city’s police intelligence and security departments had been sacked.
The ministry said they had been removed on the suggestion of investigators “to allow for a healthy investigation” into the atrocity.
There has been growing anger against Erdogan and the government for alleged security lapses over the worst attack in modern Turkey’s history in which two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of peace activists on Saturday.
In his first public remarks over the bombings, Erdogan admitted there were security shortcomings but said their magnitude would be made clear only later.
“There must undoubtedly be a mistake, a shortcoming in some place. Of what dimension? This will emerge after examinations,” he told reporters late Tuesday.
He said he ordered the State Supervisory Council (DDK), an inspection body attached to the presidency, to undertake a special investigation “to handle (the attack) from a different perspective”.
Erdogan on Wednesday made his first visit to the site of the bombings outside Ankara’s main railway station, laying flowers for the victims alongside visiting Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.
The attack has raised political tensions to new highs as Turkey prepares for a snap election on November 1, with polarisation within the country now greater than ever.
The government said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is the prime suspect behind the bombings, which also injured more than 500 people.
Over the weekend and on Monday, police arrested dozens of people with suspected links to the ISIL in cities stretching from the Mediterranean resort of Antalya to the southern city of Adana.