Turkey wedding blast: 30 dead and 90 hurt in Gaziantep

Turkey wedding blast: 30 dead and 90 hurt in Gaziantep

  • 21 August 2016
  • From the section Europe
Media captionIt is not yet known who was behind the attack

A blast at an outdoor wedding party in the south Turkish city of Gaziantep has killed at least 30 people and injured 94 more, the authorities say.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said so-called Islamic State (IS) was likely to have carried it out amid reports of a suicide bomber targeting the party.

The attack, in an area popular with university students, could be heard across the city.

Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, is known to have several IS cells.

The BBC’s Seref Isler, who is from Gaziantep, says the city was already on edge before the attack because of events in Syria, where IS has been battling Syrian Kurdish forces.

A suicide bomber believed to have links to IS killed two policemen in Gaziantep in May.


Was IS behind this? Analysis by Mark Lowen, BBC News, Istanbul

IS is known to have operatives in Gaziantep.

Turkey has been hit by a series of bombs both by IS and Kurdish militants in the past year. The last IS attack, on Istanbul airport in June, killed more than 40 people.

The jihadists have recently lost ground in northern Syria, including a former stronghold, Manbij. Syrian rebel soldiers are preparing to advance further into the IS-held province of Jarablus.

If this bomb was the work of IS, there will be speculation it was a revenge attack, intended as a show of strength by a group on the defensive.


Image copyright STR
Image caption The attack, late on Saturday night, targeted a wedding party

Image copyright STR
Image caption Crowds gathered after the blast in Gaziantep

According to a report by AFP news agency, the bomb went off in a part of town with a large Kurdish community and there seem to have been many Kurds at the wedding.

In a written statement published by local media (in Turkish), Mr Erdogan argued there was “no difference” between IS, the Kurdish militants of the PKK, and followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he blames for the coup attempt last month.

“Our country and our nation have again only one message to those who attack us – you will not succeed!” he said.

On Saturday, Turkey’s government said the country would take a more active role in efforts to end the war in Syria.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said a future political settlement for Syria must not include President Bashar al-Assad, IS or Turkey’s own Kurdish separatist rebels, the PKK.

“In the six months ahead of us, we shall be playing a more active role,” Mr Yildirim said. “It means not allowing Syria to be divided along ethnic lines.”


Deadliest recent attacks in Turkey

  • 20 August: Bomb attack on wedding party in Gaziantep kills at least 30 people, IS suspected
  • 30 July: 35 Kurdish fighters who try to storm a military base are killed by the Turkish army
  • 29 June: A gun and bomb attack on Ataturk airport in Istanbul kills 41 people, in an attack blamed on IS militants
  • 13 March: 37 people are killed by Kurdish militants in a suicide car bombing in Ankara
  • 17 February: 28 people are killed in an attack on a military convoy in Ankara
  • 12 January: 10 people, including at least eight German tourists, die in a suicide bombing in Istanbul, thought to have been carried out by IS
  • October 2015: More than 100 people die in a double suicide bombing at a Kurdish peace rally in Ankara – the deadliest attack of its kind on Turkish soil

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