The Latest: Thousands of Kurds protest deadly blasts

AP News
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Posted: Oct 11, 2015 1:39 PM
The Latest: Thousands of Kurds protest deadly blasts

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Developments relating to Saturday's deadly bombings targeting a peace rally in the Turkish capital of Ankara. All times local.

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8:35 p.m.

Thousands of people have gathered in the mostly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir to condemn the twin blasts that ripped through Turkey's capital and killed 95 people.

More than 10,000 people held a moment of silence on Sunday for the victims of the explosions who were attending a peace rally in Ankara. Hundreds of others were also wounded in Saturday's attack.

Sunday's rally ended peacefully, but clashes erupted between police and a small group of protesters who broke away and marched toward a neighborhood where clashes are frequent and where authorities have declared a curfew.

Earlier, protesters chanted slogans in support of the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which are embroiled in renewed fighting with Turkey's security forces. Hundreds have died in the fighting since July.

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7:05 p.m.

Queen Elizabeth II has said she is "shocked and saddened" by the attack in Turkey that has killed at least 95 people.

In a letter made public Sunday, Elizabeth told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan she is deeply upset by the bombing.

"I, along with people across the world, have been shocked and saddened by Saturday's attack in Ankara and my thoughts are with all those affected by these terrible events," Elizabeth said.

She offered her condolences to the Turkish people.

Britain's counterterrorism police say they are working with Turkish authorities to help with the investigation.

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4:45 p.m.

Thousands attended a rally in Paris condemning the deadly explosions in Ankara, coming out against both the suspected suicide bombings that left at least 95 dead and the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Waving Kurdish flags, banners and chanting anti-Erdogan slogans, the largely Kurdish crowed marched from the expansive Republique plaza in central Paris toward the Seine River. Paris has a large and active Kurdish population.

The Paris demonstration echoed an anti-government rally in Ankara, where many believe Erdogan is responsible for the spiraling violence that has plagued Turkey since the summer.

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3:40 p.m.

A prominent Syrian rebel group says that it stands with the Turkish government and people against the "terrorism" that has claimed the lives of many civilians.

Jaysh al-Islam, or the Army of Islam, says in a statement Sunday "criminals hands" are messing with Turkey to sway its government from its "honorable and supporting" positions regarding the Syrian people and others seeking freedoms.

The group, which has a strong base near Damascus and is known for having strong ties to the Turkish government, says it is expressing its "complete solidarity with the Turkish government and is sending condolences to the families of the victims."

It says the Syrian people "will never forget the generous positions of the Turkish government and people" for taking refugees and the "repressed."

Turkey is mourning the death of 95 people killed in twin blasts in Ankara Saturday.

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3:15 p.m.

Thousands of mourners have gathered outside a place of worship for Turkey's Alevi religious community for a funeral service for one of the victims of the twin blasts that killed 95 in the Turkish capital Ankara.

The crowd on Sunday raised their fists in the air and held a minute of silence in remembrance of 25-year-old Korkmaz Tedik who died Saturday.

The names of other victims identified by the authorities were read out one by one.

The crowd also shouted slogans denouncing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government, whom they accuse of failing to take precautions to prevent the attack.

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2:20 p.m.

The co-chairman of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party is blaming the government for the deadly blasts in the Turkish capital Ankara, accusing it of failing to prevent the attack.

Selahattin Demirtas told a group of mourners on Sunday: "The state which gets information about the bird that flies and every flap of its wing, was not able to prevent a massacre in the heart of Ankara."

Scuffles broke out earlier as police used tear gas to prevent Demirtas and other mourners from laying carnations at the site of two suspected suicide bombings that killed 95.

A group of about 70 mourners were eventually allowed to enter the cordoned off area outside the main train station.

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1:40 p.m.

Pope Francis has led followers in silent prayer for the victims of what he described as the "terrible slaughter" in the Turkish capital.

The pope paused for 30 seconds of silent prayer for "that dear country" during his traditional Angelus blessing Sunday. He told followers gathered in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican that news of the Ankara bomb attacks brought "pain for the numerous dead, pain for the wounded and pain because the attackers hit helpless people who were demonstrating for peace."

The twin explosions Saturday ripped through a crowd of activists rallying for increased democracy and an end to violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces, killing 95.

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1:10 p.m.

Turkey's government says it has appointed two chief civil inspectors and two chief police inspectors to investigate the blasts in the Turkish capital which killed 95 people.

A statement from the government's crisis coordination center also said Sunday that 160 people hurt in Saturday's blasts were still hospitalized, with 65 in serious condition.

The statement said a total of 508 people sought medical treatment following the explosions —Turkey's deadliest attack in years.

The two explosions occurred seconds apart outside Ankara's main train station as hundreds of activists gathered for rally to call for increased democracy and an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces.

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12:40 p.m.

A Turkish news agency reports that police have detained 14 suspected members of the Islamic State group in the central Turkish city of Konya.

The Dogan news agency says the group, which included a woman, was taken away Sunday following simultaneous raids to homes.

It was not clear if the detentions were related to the twin blasts in the capital Ankara on Saturday which killed 95 people and injured hundreds of others.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were "strong signs" that the attacks were suicide bombings. He suggested the Islamic State group or Kurdish rebels could be responsible.

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12:15 p.m.

Scuffles have broken out in the Turkish capital as police used tear gas to prevent pro-Kurdish politicians and other mourners from laying carnations at the site of two suspected suicide bombings that killed 95 people and wounded hundreds in Turkey's deadliest attack in years.

Police held back the mourners, including the pro-Kurdish party's co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, insisting that investigators were still working at the site.

A group of about 70 mourners were eventually allowed to enter the cordoned off area outside the capital's main train station Sunday to briefly pay their respects for the victims.

The group of mourners then began to march toward a central square in Ankara, chanting slogans against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom many hold responsible for the spiraling violence that has plagued Turkey since the summer.