On Saturday, twin bomb blasts ripped through a large peace rally in the Turkish capital, Ankara, killing nearly 100 people and injuring dozens. The attack, considered the worst terrorist incident in Turkey's modern history, shocked the nation. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday that authorities suspect the Islamic State carried out the assault.
But tensions are mounting in the wake of the carnage, with critics of Davutoglu's Justice and Development Party, or AKP, pointing accusatory fingers at the ruling party and the country's powerful president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The past few months have seen the resumption of hostilities between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or the PKK, a separatist organization deemed a terrorist group by Ankara and Washington.
The targeted event in Ankara was a rally for peace organized by leftist groups and a prominent pro-Kurdish party. Now, as funerals and memorials were being held for the dead, Turkey's volatile political divisions have become even more pronounced, as WorldViews explained over the weekend.
No prominent officials from the AKP attended major public funerals and commemorations held in Istanbul, Ankara and elsewhere, perhaps out of fear of angry crowds.
In Istanbul, mourners carried the coffins of some of the victims, draped in Kurdish flags.
Selahattin Demirtas, the charismatic leader of the Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, a leftist, pro-Kurdish party that helped convene the ill-fated rally on Saturday, joined in the commemorations.
In the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, a prominent Kurdish center, protesters clashed with security forces.
At a ceremony in Ankara attended by HDP officials and other leftists, relatives of victims made powerful speeches.
"We wanted peace. We wanted this for Kurds, Turks, poor people, laborers.... But they wanted death for us," said Emel Kitapci, whose husband died at the Saturday rally. "They are murderers, and we know who the murderer is! But we do not collapse. We struggle with our moral and conscience. And it will go on. They can kill us one time, but we are born thousand times again." According to local media reports, she consoled her sobbing son.
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