UPDATE (TRS): 86 killed in the bomb blasts and 186 injured:
USA TODAY – At least 86 people were killed and 186 injured Saturday in a pair of bomb blasts that erupted ahead of a peace rally in the capital Ankara, according to senior Turkish officials.
The bodies of many of the dead were covered or carried off in remnants of the colorful flags and peace banners.
Interior Minister Selami Altınok and Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said in a statement that 86 people were killed and 186 injured — including 26 in serious condition.
The first of two blasts was caught in dramatic video from Turkey’s Dogan news agency of a line of demonstrators holding hands and chanting. A large, orange flash erupts behind them, knocking people to the ground.
Some 14,000 people were believed to be in the area at the time, the Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reports.
A witness said one of the explosions occurred at the spot where demonstrators were leaving their bags before entering a security cordon for the rally, Turkey’s Dogan news agency reports. The Daily Sabah newspaper reports that a suicide bomber was believed responsible for the blast, although this could not be immediately confirmed.
Here is one of the bomb blasts caught on film:
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called an emergency security meeting to discuss the attack. His office said he was suspending his election campaign programs for the next three days. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cut short his program in Istanbul to return to the capital.
“There was a massacre in the middle of Ankara,” said Lami Ozgen, head of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, or KESK. “Two bombs exploded in very short intervals.”
No group or person immediately claimed responsibility for the explosions, which occurred only minutes apart. Turkey is embroiled in struggles both with the Islamic State in bordering Syria and with Kurdish separatists.
Kurdish rebels declared a temporary cease-fire Saturday afternoon ahead of Turkey’s November election.
UPDATE 2 (TRS): The HDP (Kurdish Party) candidate for Istanbul is confirmed killed in the terrorist attack:
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) October 10, 2015
— Posta Gazetesi (@postacomtr) October 10, 2015
UPDATE 3 (TRS): In the aftermath of the bombing, some were shouting ‘Murderer Erdogan’ outside a hospital in Ankara:
— neden??? (@Guno_77) October 10, 2015
UPDATE 4 (TRS): The HDP has an english website where they’ve written to the International Community pointing out that when the police got to the scene, they attacked people who were helping the injured with tear gas:
Today, on October 10, a bomb attacked took place at the rally in Ankara which was organized by democratic NGOs including KESK, DISK, TMMOB and TTB and which HDP had strongly supported. The rally was organized against war and AKP’s hostile and violent policies; thus hundreds of people around Turkey gathered to claim peace and put pressure on the government to end the war which has been conducted for over two months.
The demonstrators coming from outside of Ankara started to gather at about 9 am at the station of Ankara and they were planned to march from railway station to the Sıhhiye square where the rally would take place. Just after the beginning of the march, at about 10:04 am, two bomb attacks occurred among HDP cortege. For this reason, it is understood that the main target of the attacks was HDP.
It should be indicated that there were no police around the crime scene when the explosion occurred. The riot arrived to the place after 15 minutes. But when they arrived, they attacked by tear gas bombs against the people who intended to help injured people.
We also want to express that this morning at about 6 am, one person attacked to our Headquarter in Ankara and he wanted to damage our building. Everyone can imagine that these events are not independent from each other.
I’ve confirmed this is part of the official HDP statement on the bombing in English. Given the HDP is the Kurdish party, I don’t think the suicide bombs could be attributed to them.
*** EARLIER ***
Social media is reporting that there were two big explosions in Ankara, the capital of Turkey.
Here are some of the videos of the aftermath:
Ankara Tren Garı kavşağındaki patlamadan sonra ilk görüntüler pic.twitter.com/ICBdEt0RTr"
— révolution ✌ (@koyema) October 10, 2015
— sezer keleş (@seruzer) October 10, 2015
Ankara da patlama pic.twitter.com/ECR6CiirDd
— Bager (@bagerarjin) October 10, 2015
Son Dakika! Ankara'da gerçekleşen patlamadan görüntüler… pic.twitter.com/1E4WsSPAxr
— Meydan Gazetesi (@MeydanGazete) October 10, 2015
Turkey entered the war in Syria because of a similar attack by ISIS earlier this year. But rather than strike at ISIS, the Turkish forces used this as an excuse to strike at the Kurds, the people who were fighting ISIS the most valiantly. This could be a Kurdish attack, or an ISIS attack. There are not enough details to know right now.