Last Saturday, Oct. 10, two explosions rocked a peace rally in the Turkish city of Ankara, killing at least 95 people and injuring nearly 200 more.
The bombings occured during a rally calling for peace between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the nation’s security forces, as well as increased democracy in the country.The two blasts came in quick succession, no more than a few minutes between them, and left outrage and tragedy in their wake.
In the aftermath of the attack, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed that there were “strong signs” pointing to the use of suicide bombers to execute the attack.
Though initially stopping short of blaming the attack on anyone, Davutoglu came out on Monday and announced that ISIS is the prime suspect in the bombing. No group has claimed the attack as theirs, as of press time.
Anti-government anger and frustration, already on the rise, was fanned by the government’s poor and inconsiderate handling of the attack.
The Davutoglu administration instituted a media black-out on pictures or videos of the bombing itself and the bomb sites, and temporarily blocked social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The following day, when mourners and pro-Kurdish politicians tried to lay flowers at the site; police used tear gas to stop them. These actions, largely affecting Kurdish leaders and activists, sparked even more outrage.
Although the attack certainly devastated the rally physically, it did much more damage to Turkey’s political stability.
With only three weeks until national elections, the rally was meant to be a cry for unity and brotherhood in Turkey, asking for peaceful cooperation. In the wake of the attack, differences are deeper and more dividing than ever. Anti-government rallies have sprung up across the country.
Though it seems unlikely that Turkey will fall into anarchy, it certainly has obstacles to free and fair elections.