Anguish in Turkey as funeral held for bombing victims

Mourners bid farewell to 32 killed in Suruc attack and accuse Turkish president of not doing enough to combat ISIL.

Families of the Kurdish activists killed in a suicide attack in the Turkish town of Suruc have begun laying their loved ones to rest.

Huge crowds attended Tuesday’s funerals of 25 of the 32 victims of Monday’s blast, which happened just 10km from Turkey’s border with Syria.

Those who attended shouted slogans against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, which has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mourners also chanted against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who they accuse of not doing enough to combat the armed group, which has conducted a military campaign against Syrian Kurdish communities that line the border.

Suspect identified

Earlier Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkish authorities had identified a suspect involved in the bombing.

Davutoglu did not give the name of the suspect, but said there was a high probability the attack was caused by a suicide bomber with connections to the ISIL.

“One suspect has been identified. All the [suspect’s] links internationally and domestically are being investigated,” he said on Tuesday.

“We expect this investigation to be concluded as soon as possible.”

The attack targeted the group of mostly university-aged students from an activist group as they gathered to make a statement to the local press about a trip they were planning to help rebuild Kobane in Syria.

The footage showed young men and women from the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations standing behind a banner declaring support for the devastated Syrian city, some holding up small red flags. Suddenly there was a huge explosion, apparently from within the crowd, sending up a column of flame.

RELATED: Turkey to boost border security after ‘ISIL’ attack

Kobane was the site of one of the biggest battles against ISIL last year and was secured by Syrian Kurdish fighters last month after repeated assaults.

The students planned to build a library, plant a forest and build a playground in Kobane, a member of the group wounded in the blast, told the Reuters news agency.

Turkey’s Kurds have been enraged by what they see as the ruling AK party government’s failure to do more to stop ISIL. The PKK held Ankara responsible for Monday’s attack, saying it had “supported and cultivated” ISIL against the Kurds.

On Monday, Davutoglu pledged that the government would increase security measures along the Syrian-Turkish border.

“But our citizens should consider that countries experiencing tension, instability and clashes in the region could turn out to affect Turkey’s inner peace,” he said.

Turkey’s leaders have said they do not plan any unilateral military incursion into Syria.

Mourners shouted slogans against ISIL and President Erdogan for his lack of action in tackling the armed group’s rise [Getty]
Source: AFP


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