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Suruc massacre: Mass funeral for Turkey bombing victims

image copyrightSGDF
image captionThe faces of some of the victims of the bomb blast in Suruc

A mass funeral ceremony has taken place in Turkey for most of the 32 activists killed in a suicide bomb attack in Suruc, near the Syrian border.

Mourners wept, shouted slogans and clutched the coffins as they were lined up in the courtyard of a mosque.

They were then taken to their home towns for burial.

Turkey's PM says the authorities have identified the suspected bomber, who is thought to have had links with the Islamic State (IS) group.

The activists, mainly university students, were members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations.

They were holding a news conference when the bomb ripped through Soruc's Amara Cultural Centre on Monday afternoon. They had been planning to travel to Syria to help rebuild the town of Kobane.

image copyrightAP
image captionHundreds of mourners attended the mass funeral
image copyrightAP
image captionPrime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the injured in hospital

The mass funeral for 25 of the victims took place in the south-eastern city of Gaziantep following post-mortem examinations.

The coffins were wrapped in red shrouds, with the name of each victim written in black capitals on a white piece of paper and attached to their coffin.

Hundreds of mourners shouted slogans against the IS jihadists, and chants critical of the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who opponents accuse of not doing enough to crack down on IS.

Later, on Tuesday evening, police in Istanbul deployed tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of pro-Kurdish activists demonstrating about the attack and government policy on Syria.

media captionSome angry protesters blame the government for the massacre in Suruc, says Jim Muir

The AFP news agency reports that demonstrations also took place in the predominantly Kurdish town of Nusaybin, on the border with Syria.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking near the scene of the blast, said the suspect's international and domestic links were being investigated, and there was a "high probability" that IS was to blame.

He said 29 of the 100 people who were injured were still being treated in hospital.

"What's necessary will be done against whomever is responsible," said Mr Davutoglu. "This is an attack that targeted Turkey."

He rejected claims that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had not done enough to combat IS militants, saying the government had "never tolerated any terrorist group".

Western states have also accused Turkey of not doing enough to halt the rise of the group, but the country appears to have taken a harder line against it in recent weeks.

The government has vowed to increase security at the Syrian border.

media captionVideo footage shows a group of young people gathered around a banner before the blast

BBC Middle East correspondent Jim Muir said the authorities were now likely to target militants within Turkey itself in response to this attack, which could lead to further retaliatory attacks.

There has been criticism from the main opposition party, CHP, and Kurdish groups that a national day of mourning has not been declared by the government. The government declared three days of mourning when Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah died in January.

IS militants have not responded to claims that they were behind the bombing.

Suruc is home to many refugees who have fled fierce fighting between IS and Kurdish fighters in nearby Kobane.

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Related Topics

  • Islamic State group
  • Turkey