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
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before