Twin bomb blasts kill 2, injure over 100 at milestone rally of Turkey's HDP
DHA photoTwo people were killed and over 100 were injured when bombs exploded ahead of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) rally in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakır on June 5.
In a written statement on June 2, Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor Ramazan Solmaz said two people, 34-year-old Şeyhmuz Kaçan and 47-year-old Necati Kurul, were killed in the explosion, while more than 100 people were injured in the explosion and the panic that followed.
“The scene, and the evidence regarding the incident have been secured and a thorough investigation has been launched, led by the deputy chief public prosecutor and four other prosecutors,” Solmaz said in his statement.
Some local sources said the number of people injured in the blasts was over 300.
Security forces have determined that the explosion was caused by one bomb put inside a gas cylinder packed with ball bearings, and one percussion bomb, daily Hürriyet reported on its website. Security forces said there were hundreds of ball bearings and nails inside the gas bottle to increase the damage and a reinforced explosive material was used.
Experts have collected more than 100 pieces of ball bearings and pieces of the gas bottle scattered around the explosion zone and the pieces were taken to a criminal lab for further tests.
Terrorism and intelligence experts are controlling the surveillance camera footage of the area, the report said, adding that no suspects have been determined yet.
The HDP's co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, was scheduled to speak at 18.30 p.m., around half-an-hour after the explosion.
The HDP's Diyarbakır rally was expected to be the party's largest in its campaign for the June 7 general election, in which the Kurdish votes will be critical.
After the explosion, most of the crowd left the square in panic, private broadcaster CNNTürk reported.
As ambulances carried the casualties to nearby hospitals, police took precautionary measures in the area of the blast.
The rally was cancelled but a large group of youths remained at the site, protesting the explosions. Some threw stones at a police water canon that moved in to disperse the crowd.
Meanwhile, Demirtaş has called on everyone to stay calm. "Whatever the cause of the explosion, I invite the
people of Diyarbakır to be calm and avoid any provocation," he said in a live phone call with CNNTürk.
According to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the target of the attack was the June 7 elections.
"It is obvious that the blasts aim to overshadow [Sunday's elections]," Erdoğan said in a live televised interview on June 5.
"Democratic expansion, national unity and brotherhood projects and solution process. There are groups who want to overshadow these things."
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu vowed to catch any perpetrators, saying that the bombs were an attack on Turkish democracy.
"No matter why, whoever has done this attack, the perpetrators target Turkey and Turkish democracy," Davutoğlu, leader of the ruling Justice and Development (AKP), said in a televised interview late June 5.
He added that the bombings were carried out by "dirty hands" or "circles" that were aware of the "heavy consequences of such manipulations,” according to Anadolu Agency.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also condemned the attack and urged restraint ahead of the elections.
The HDP is vying to pass the threshold of 10 percent of total votes required to take seats in parliament. If it succeeds it could make it impossible for the ruling AKP to reach a supermajority in parliament. That would scuttle the AKP’s ambitions to introduce a new constitution and change Turkey’s parliamentary system into a presidential system that could give President Erdoğan executive powers.