Gül calls on Turkey to stand up against terror
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Premier Erdoğan (L) speaks with President Gül during a funeral for the victims of a deadly attack which killed nine people in the southeastern province of Gaziantep. AA photo
Six of the nine people who were killed when a car laden with explosives was detonated on Aug. 20 in the eastern province of Gaziantep were buried Aug. 22. Calling on the entire world not to interpret this attack as an attempt to seek rights, President Abdullah Gül described the perpetrators as inhumane and strongly condemned their actions.
“I want the entire world to see that this attack had nothing to do with seeking rights. This was just a terrorist act committed by inhumane people who have totally lost their humanity,” Gül said. There is no doubt, he said, that the bloody attack in Gaziantep, which killed nine people, including children, was committed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as the terrorist organization has a long criminal record of similar acts. “Therefore, we have no doubt [that the PKK was behind the attack],” Gül told reporters yesterday in Gaziantep, while he attending the funerals of the victims of the attack.
The PKK has denied that it carried out the attack, but security forces claim to have evidence pointing to the contrary, according to officials, including Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin.
“We have to stand all together on such days. The best answer to give the terrorist organization and their supporters is to stand together, to establish a common front against terror, as an entire nation, regardless of our own political views,” Gül said.
Expressing his satisfaction at seeing this kind of unity in Gaziantep, where all leaders of all political parties and a number of leading politicians gathered for the funeral of the victims, Gül called on everyone to put distance between themselves and terrorism and the terrorist organization. “One of the most important steps in ending terrorism is the ability to stand against it, to stand against those who commit these crimes against humanity. I once again make this call to all my citizens,” he said.
The only thing that provided a modicum of solace was the news that security forces had detained some suspects who may be connected to the bloody attack, Gül said.
“Statements will be made after the completion of the ongoing investigation and after proving their involvement with the attack. The information we have been given shows that meticulous work is being carried out to pave the way for the detention of these suspects,” he said.
Gül, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, National Education Minister Ömer Dinçer, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz, Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin, lawmakers from the AKP, CHP and MHP, the Erdoğan’s wife Emine and son Bilal Erdoğan, the mayors of neighboring provinces, and about 15,000 citizens attended the funeral, which was held at the Bahaeddin Nakıboğlu Mosque. Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin’s mother Perihan Kıymık, who died on Aug. 21, was also buried at the same funeral.
Because the leading figures in the government were present at the funeral, extraordinary safety measures were taken in and around the mosque in order to prevent possible extreme reactions in protest of terrorism.
Those killed in the bomb blast include guards İsmail Daler, 30, Davut Azak, 31, and Safi Canbaş, 49; as well as Onur Fikret Aker, 21, who was doing his military service in Şırnak and was on leave in Gaziantep; his wife Duygu Aker, 21, and their one-year-old daughter, Almina Melisa Aker; their niece Sevgi Gülperi İnanç, 11; Süleyman Alkan, 3; and Sena Büyükkonuk, 12. Büyükkonuk and Alkan were buried in Gaziantep on Aug. 21, and Azak was buried in Diyarbakır’s Ergani district on the evening of Aug. 21. The coffins of Daler, Canbaş, the members of the Aker family, and İnanç were wrapped with Turkish flags and placed next to the coffin of Şahin’s mother, Perihan Kıymık.
During the funeral, Şahin burst into tears. Emine Erdoğan tried to console Şahin. Erdoğan and Şahin wept together, embracing each other. The head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, Prof. Mehmet Görmez, performed individual funeral prayers for each deceased person. The bodies of the bombing victims were buried in Asri Cemetery near the mosque. İnanç’s body was sent to Adana, where her family lives.
Meanwhile, it was reported that five suspects, including the driver of the tow truck that brought the bomb-laden car to Gaziantep, were being questioned at Gaziantep Police Headquarters.