Blasts hit Kurdish party’s election rally in Turkey

At least two dead and 100 wounded in latest incident at campaign event of pro-Kurdish HDP party.

Explosion in Diyarbakir
Friday's rally in Diyarbakir was to have been one of the HDP's main campaign events [EPA]

Two explosions have gone off at an opposition rally in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, killing two people and injuring more than 100.

Initial reports said there had been one explosion on Friday but a senior security source told Reuters news agency there had been two blasts.

Officials had initially blamed a faulty power transformer at the rally site but later ruled that possibility out.

A correspondent of the AFP news agency who saw at least 10 people injured said there were two successive blasts, with the second one louder.

Tens of thousands of people were attending a rally by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the southeastern city, two days before legislative polls.

One Minute Turkey Election

Selahattin Demirtas, HDP’s leader, had been due to address the crowd.

Ahmed Davutoglu, the Turkish prime minister, who was speaking at a rally in the nearby city of Gaziantep, said he opposed any such violence.

Some activists threw stones in anger at the police, with the security forces then using tear gas to keep control.

HDP officials told supporters through loudspeakers to leave the scene and the rally area started to clear.

The rally was to have been one of the HDP’s key campaign events, as Diyarbakir is the most significant city in the Kurdish-majority southeast that is the bedrock of its support.

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In a tight campaign, the HDP is battling to exceed the tough 10 percent threshold required in Turkey to send MPs to parliament.

Should it succeed, the presence of HDP MPs could block plans by the ruling party to approve a new constitution to hand more power to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The HDP has been targeted by several attacks in the run-up to Sunday’s elections and clashes at its rally in the eastern city of Erzurum on Thursday left dozens wounded.

Earlier this week, unidentified assailants opened fire on an HDP campaign bus in the Kurdish-majority eastern Bingol province, killing the driver.

Source: News Agencies