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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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: Workshop Deputy & Production Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A rare and exciting role has arisen within thi...

Recruitment Genius: HR Assistant

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a keen...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, this multi-ac...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Specialist

£21000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an e...

Day In a Page

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?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat