Istanbul shopping centre blasts toll rises to 17

The death toll in two bomb blasts in Istanbul rose to 17 today in an attack that sharply increased tension as Turkey's top court began deliberating on whether to ban the governing party.



The toll rose when one person died from wounds sustained in the Sunday evening blasts in a working class neighbourhood on the European side of Istanbul, Governor Muammer Guler said. Five of the dead were children, he said.



More than 150 people were wounded, with 50 people being treated in hospital, including six in a serious condition.



"We have been fighting terror for 30 to 35 years. This fight will continue until we win it," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told local residents at the site of the blasts.



"Today is a day for unity," he said.



Armed forces chief General Yasar Buyukanit said in a statement: "The attacks, which were staged in a crowded street at a busy hour and without discriminating between men and women, young, old and children, showed once again the gory face, ruthlessness and despair of terrorism."



In the emotionally charged aftermath of the bombings, the Constitutional Court, Turkey's highest judicial body, began deliberating on whether the AK Party had engaged in Islamist activities and should be closed. The party denies the charges and a ruling is expected in early August.



The court case is linked to a long-running power struggle between Turkey's secularist establishment and the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which are at odds over the direction of the officially secular but predominantly Muslim country.



"Our problem is not whether or not the AK Party will be closed. Our problem at the moment is to keep our unity so our country will go in a different direction," Erdogan said.



No one has claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks, the deadliest in Turkey since 2003. But police were increasingly looking at the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).



"There are signs of links to the separatist group. Work continues on that," Guler said.



The PKK condemned the attack, the Firat news agency, which is close to the guerrillas, said on its website.



Newspapers said three people had been detained in connection with the attacks.









The site was still cordoned off today and police were not allowing people into the area other than shop owners.



Kurdish separatists, far-left groups and Islamist militants have all carried out bombings in Istanbul in the past.



The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, has waged a deadly campaign for a Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey since 1984. But it usually does not target civilians.



"We know the killers," Sabah newspaper said in a headline above a picture of bodies strewn across a busy pedestrian area in Gungoren, near Istanbul's main international airport, where two bombs, minutes apart, tore through the crowds.



Officials said a first blast brought people into the streets and a larger bomb hidden in a rubbish bin exploded 10 minutes later just 50 metres away.



Several local residents blamed the separatists.



"Who is behind it? Of course it's the PKK. We should organise a big protest march. This has nothing to do with politics, this is all about the PKK," Orhan Balci, a 38-year-old textile businessman told Reuters.



"After the (Turkish military) bombings in northern Iraq they are in their death throes and they are targeting the people. We shouldn't back down, we should fight back, this is pure terrorism," Balci said.



The Istanbul attacks came hours after Turkish jets bombed suspected PKK positions in northern Iraq, used by guerrillas as a base from which to carry out strikes on Turkish territory.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?