Turkey’s President Erdogan pays tribute to bombing victims

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday paid homage to victims of the twin bombings in Ankara as he tried to deflect criticism of alleged security lapses in the country.

Erdogan, accompanied by Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto, laid flowers in front of the city’s railway station where two suicide bombers blew themselves up on Saturday.

The blasts killed 97 people at a peace rally organised by leftists and pro-Kurdish activists, making it Turkey’s deadliest attack ever.

The government has said the Islamic State (IS) group is the prime suspect behind the attack, which also injured more than 500.

There have been growing indications that the authorities are focusing on possible parallels – or even links – to a July 20 suicide bombing at a peace rally that killed 34 on the Syrian border.

The bombings have raised political tensions to new highs as Turkey prepares for a November 1 snap election, with polarisation within the country now greater than ever.

Erdogan has admitted there were security shortcomings but said their magnitude would only be made clear later.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s interior ministry said it had removed the police, intelligence and security chiefs of Ankara from their posts in an effort to conduct an effective investigation into the deadly bombings.

The ministry, in a statement on its website late on Tuesday, did not say if the officials would to return to their posts after the investigation.

source FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS