Turkey mourns as bombs kill 38

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Is­tan­bul

Turkey de­clared a day of na­tional mourn­ing on Sunday af­ter twin bomb­ings killed 38 peo­ple near a soc­cer sta­dium in Is­tan­bul and said Kur­dish mil­i­tants ap­peared to have staged the at­tacks.

A car bomb det­o­nated on Saturday out­side the home sta­dium of soc­cer gi­ants Be­sik­tas af­ter a Su­per Lig match be­tween Be­sik­tas and Bur­sas­por, and less than a minute later a suicide at­tacker blew him­self up near a group of po­lice at a nearby park.

Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim or­dered flags to fly at half mast while Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan post­poned a planned trip to Kaza­khstan, the state news agency Anadolu re­ported.

“The tar­get was di­rectly the po­lice,” Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Nu­man Kur­tul­mus told CNN Turk.

“Ex­perts say at least 300400 kilo­grams of ex­plo­sives had been used. There was a pit where the car det­o­nated,” he said.

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Sule­man Soylu said 30 po­lice, seven civil­ians and an uniden­ti­fied per­son died in the blasts and 155 were in­jured. Thir­teen peo­ple have been de­tained over the blasts.

“The find­ings point to the PKK as the au­thors” of the at­tacks, Soylu said, re­fer­ring to the out­lawed Kur­dis­tan Work­ers’ Party, or PKK.

A foren­sic team on Sunday in­spected the sta­dium and the park to col­lect ev­i­dence. City work­ers mean­while cleaned up the area. Later peo­ple gath­ered at the site of the car bomb­ing to lay flow­ers, many hold­ing Turk­ish flags.

“An act of ter­ror tar­geted our se­cu­rity forces and cit­i­zens at Be­sik­tas tonight,” Er­do­gan said in a state­ment af­ter the at­tacks.

Er­do­gan said the blasts were timed to cause max­i­mum loss of life.

“We have wit­nessed once more here in Is­tan­bul the ugly face of ter­ror which tram­ples on any form of val­ues and morals,” he said.

State broad­caster TRT showed images of the wreck­age of a car en­gulfed in flames with emer­gency ser­vices swarm­ing around the scene out­side the sports venue.

Other footage showed wrecked po­lice ve­hi­cles, while wit­nesses said the force of the blast shat­tered the win­dows of nearby homes.

“I heard two ex­plo­sions in less than one minute, fol­lowed by the sound of gun­shots,” one wit­ness said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Be­sik­tas is one of Is­tan­bul’s most pop­u­lar soc­cer clubs, and its fans are known for their anti-es­tab­lish­ment views and fa­mously played a big role in the 2013 protests against Er­do­gan, who was then prime min­is­ter.

Be­sik­tas in a state­ment vowed to “stand firm against the vile at­tack­ers who will never achieve their goal.”

There was no im­me­di­ate claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity for Saturday’s at­tack.

CANSU ALKAYA / AP

Rescue and medics carry a wounded per­son af­ter bomb at­tacks that au­thor­i­ties said tar­geted po­lice near a soc­cer sta­dium in Is­tan­bul late on Saturday.

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