Ankara Explosions Kill at Least 97 at HDP-Supported Peace Rally

Demirtas: Attack Perpetrated by the State against the People

ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)—Two explosions targeted a peace rally in Ankara this morning, killing at least 97 people and injuring close to 200. Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) condemned the attack and stated that the suspected suicide bombings targeted the HDP.

A man cries over the body of a victim, at the site of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 10. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
A man cries over the body of a victim at the site of one explosion in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 10. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

The attack occurred in an area where HDP supporters were gathered, which suggests that “the main target of the attacks was HDP,” the party said in a statement addressed to the international community, stressing that there had been no police presence in the area where the attacks occurred. Riot police arrived to the scene about 15 minutes after the explosion, and proceeded to use tear gas against people scrambling to help those injured, according to the statement.

Clashes between civilians and police reportedly took place after riot police were seen as preventing ambulances from reaching the victims.

According to reports, an HDP candidate who was planning to run in the Nov. 1 elections was among those killed.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the attack an act of terrorism and an “attack on our unity and our country’s peace.” “No matter what its origin, aim or name, we are against any form of terrorist act or terrorist organization. We are obliged to be against it together,” Erdogan said in a statement.

“This attack is not targeting our state and national unity; it is perpetrated by the state against the people,” HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas said, according to the party’s English-language Twitter page.

Victims covered in banners and flags following the deadly explosions in Ankara (Photo: HDP Twitter page)
Victims covered in banners and flags following the deadly explosions in Ankara (Photo: HDP Twitter page)

The attack was executed on the day the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) declared a ceasefire ahead of the Nov. 1 general elections.

The rally was organized near the city’s central train station by several NGOs including the Confederation of Public Employees’ Trade Unions (KESK), the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), and the Turkish Medical Association (TTB). The protest was “against war and AKP’s hostile and violent policies,” and was “strongly supported” by the HDP according to the party’s statement.

Following the explosions, images emerged showing the site of the attack, bloody protesters, and bodies covered in banners and HDP flags.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced three days of national mourning following the attack. He also confirmed that there was substantial evidence that two suicide bombers had carried out the attacks.

Meanwhile, thousands in Istanbul reacted by taking to the central Istiklal Avenue.  Some held signs accusing the authorities of being behind the attacks.

Below is a video footage of the moment the first explosion took place.


Authorities Impose Media Ban

Turkish authorities were also quick to censor media coverage of the attack. A statement released by the Turkish Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) announced that the prime minister had imposed a “temporary broadcast ban regarding the terror attack conducted in Ankara this morning.” Twitter, Facebook, and several other social media sites were also inaccessible throughout Turkey after the temporary ban.

The Associated Press reported that authorities claimed that images showing the blast and its aftermath would “create a feeling of panic,” hence the ban. Authorities reportedly warned media organizations they could face a “full blackout” if they did not comply.


Sarkisian Sends Condolence Letter

Following the attack, among the many expressions of condolences by world leaders, Armenia’s President Serge Sarkisian also sent a letter of condolence to Erdogan.

Thousands march in Istanbul protesting the explosions that targeted a peace rally in Ankara (Photo: HDP Twitter page)
Thousands march in Istanbul protesting the explosions that targeted a peace rally in Ankara (Photo: HDP Twitter page)

“Please accept my condolences over the incident. I wish steadfastness and strength of spirit to the victims’ relatives, and a speedy recovery to the injured,” read a part of his letter.

Meanwhile, according to the HDP’s Twitter page, Demirtas was quoted as saying: “Leaders, presidents are calling the prime minister for condolences. These are hollow gestures. Condolences should be addressed to the people.”

The Ankara attack comes three months after a suicide bombing targeted around 300 members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) Youth Wing and the Socialist Youth Associations Federation (SGDF). The young activists were giving a press statement on the reconstruction of Kobane on July 20 when the bombing took place. Following the Suruc attack, Sarkisian sent a letter to Erdogan expressing his condolences and condemning the violence.


  1. it is simple that who ever is doing these terrible horrible acts does not want the kurds to have a real political voice in running the country,they do not understand that violence will not stop a people to ask for their rights and to be treated as equal citizens. sitting down and honestly discussing to solve issues is the only way to justice and way or else will never work.

  2. What followed the explosion is the clearest example of what things have come to in Turkey. You have the Kurds, socialists, Alevis, liberal and progressive Turks, and moderates mourning a tragedy. On the other side- pro-AKP and the nationalists, you have people celebrating the murder of 97 of their fellow citizens because they weren’t ethnic Turks or because of their political ideology.

    You have one side which is legitimately trying to solve issues through the political process, but anyone who follows Turkish politics with any regularity will see the trend that people who advocate for a peaceful resolution of issues end up dead in a bombing or shot on the street. Any sort of real peace or reconciliation involves an honest discussion about the divisive issued that led to the initial escalation. Again, anyone who follows Turkish politics/history with any regularity will know we do not excel at having honest discussion with people we have mistreated.

    And I think this is the problem. Everyone retreats to their corner and sticks to their “information” which of course is fed to them by the propaganda machine that Turkish media has become (for the large part). Everyone is absolutely right and if you disagree with them you are 1: a traitor, 2: not a “real” Turk, 3: an agent of imperialist agents (US, Israel, Armenian diaspora, etc.) sent to infiltrate and destroy the glorious nation from the inside, and they will actually kill you for it.

    While horrible and tragic, these events were foreseeable the moment the megalomaniac who calls himself President declared “give us 400 MPs and these issues will be resolved peacefully.” When this is the mindset ruling the country, what else can you expect, other than violence? How can there be peace in a country where people celebrate the murder of their fellow citizens? If we ever want anything to chance we must change our mindsets- fundamentally. We must be willing to have a discussion, to lay out the truth- even the ugly side. But with each event that further deepens the divide and hatred, I question whether discussion, truth, and self-reflection is even possible in country founded on the bones of the innocent.

    What’s most tragic about this event is that their deaths will mean nothing. Nothing will change. We say we will remember, but we really wont after a few weeks or months. And then upon the next tragedy we will have the same talking points, etc., etc.

    • {… their deaths will mean nothing. Nothing will change}

      Sadly you are quite right.
      Just like Suruç bombing, victims were mostly Kurds and mostly, peaceful, young people.
      Condolences to the families of the victims.

  3. So this is the second time in a row in recent terror attacks in Turkey which have targeted the same people: mainly Kurds. Meanwhile the Turkish government has also been bombing Kurds (instead of ISIS) in both Syria and Iraq, civilians and militants alike, claiming it is fighting the “war on terror” with the tacit approval of NATO. This is not rocket science, a fifth grader can figure this one out.

  4. Trouble is stirring in the west of present day Armenia. I think its going to get worse before it gets better. I hope Armenia’s leadership is vigilant, this kind of stuff can reach our borders. What if the turks one day accuse Armenia of harboring Kurdish ‘terrorists’ for instance?

  5. The end justifies the means. It seems that there is no limit to the extent the Turks will go to with their barbarisnm and blood thirsty brutality on their own citizens to quash any popular uprising.

  6. [Spectators at Turkey-Iceland match boo during moment of silence for victims of Ankara attack]

    Vicious, vile, savage descendants of savage Turkic nomads from Uyguristan.
    As they were 1000 years ago, they are now.
    Turkey, North America, Europe, Australia,…..

    [Turkish-Americans celebrating the Armenian Genocide, Washington DC, 2010.]

    • It should also be mentioned that ever since the June election, the national team games are being played in Konya- the heartland of Anatolia and an AKP stronghold. For decades, games were almost exclusively in Istanbul. To avoid any possible anti-AKP movements at these games, they were moved out of Istanbul. So while there were people in Konya, and indeed all around Turkey who would have booed this moment of silence, Konya is about as representative of Turkey overall as Alabama is of the US- religiously and politically backwards, xenophobic and nationalist.

    • RVDV:

      I don’t know much about where AKP is concentrated in Turkey: your neck of the woods; you know Turkey, I don’t.
      And I accept your juxtaposition of Konya/Turkey vs Alabama/US.

      Nevertheless, I did not base my strong words on this one incident alone.
      And as I have noted in many of my posts in several threads, if Turks like e.g. Ayse Gunaysu, Ragıp Zarakolu,..were the majority in Turkey, all problems between our peoples would be solved peacefully.
      But those like Ms. Gunaysu and Mr. Zarakolu are a tiny, tiny, tiny minority in Turkey. They themselves are under constant threat of nationalist Turks.

      And even if we put aside the booing incident as abnormal and not representative of all of Turkey, how do you explain away Turkish-Americans – let me emphasize, young Turkish-Americans – celebrating the murder of Armenian children and babies ?
      Maybe you know otherwise, but I am not aware of _any_ prominent Turkish-Americans publicly condemning that despicable, vile act in 2010.
      I am not aware of _any_ Turkish-American NGOs publicly condemning that despicable, vile act in 2010.
      Do you RVDV ?


      You should know by now, having read my posts for some time, I would not make such a strong statement re Turks based on that one booing incident.
      I ask you to read the following article by a prominent Turk about Turks.
      I then ask you to revisit this thread and comment on what Ms AKALTAN wrote.

      [We have corrupt DNA]

      Thank you.

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