Kurds are blamed for bombs that killed 17 in Istanbul

Turkish police are studying security camera footage of two men carefully placing white plastic bags in rubbish bins in their search for clues after two bombs exploded in a busy Istanbul suburb, killing 17 people. The blasts on Sunday evening further raised tensions in this divided country.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest in Turkey's biggest city since more than 60 people died in four co-ordinated car bomb attacks on British and Jewish targets in November 2003. And the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, has denied that it played any role in the blasts. Istanbul's Governor, meanwhile, linked the bombings to the PKK. "There appears to be a link with the separatist organisation," said Muammer Guler. And when the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visited the scene of the yesterday, crowds greeted him with shouts of "Down with the PKK". The PKK, whose war against the Turkish state has resulted in 40,000 deaths since 1984, has bombed Turkish cities in the past.

Analysts speculate that the PKK may have been seeking revenge for aerial and ground attacks against its bases in northern Iraq. "The group is weak," said Sedat Laciner, a specialist in terrorism. "I think it is trying to bring itself to the top of the agenda again." But those most affected by the bombs appear to be sceptical of the official Turkish media line. "They say it was the PKK," said Ibrahim Culhaci, whose wrecked shoe shop is metres from where the second, bigger blast occurred. "But everybody in this country is playing funny games. The PKK could just be a tool."

Suspicions centre on the nature of Sunday's explosions. The blasts were the first in Turkey in which one bomb appeared to have been used to attract a crowd which was caught by a second. Many of the victims were people who had rushed to help those injured in the first blast.

Nihat Ali Ozcan, a former army officer and terrorism specialist, insisted that the nature of the attack did not rule the PKK out: "That's a technique they could easily have learnt from insurgents in Iraq."

Others point out that the blasts came only hours before Turkey's top judges sat down to rule on the closure of the ruling Islamic party. But it also came two days after a criminal court accepted the indictment of an 80-strong secularist-nationalist gang, known as Ergenekon, which is accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

The group is allegedly linked to the murder of a judge in 2006. Its aim, according to the 2,500-page indictment, was to destabilise society in order to prepare the ground for a military coup.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Richmond Fellowship: Executive Director

£66,192 per annum including car allowance of £5,700): The Richmond Fellowship:...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - North West

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - South West

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator - IT - Fixed Term, Part Time

£17340 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Come and join one of the UK's leading ca...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent