World

Turkey vows revenge

Kurdish militants believed to be behind blasts that killed 38 people, injured 155 in Istanbul

ISTANBUL Turkey yesterday vowed vengeance against Kurdish militants it said were likely behind twin bombings that killed 38 and wounded 155 in what appeared to be a coordinated attack on police.

The blasts on Saturday night - a car bomb outside the Vodafone Arena, home to Istanbul's Besiktas football team, followed by a suicide bomb attack in an adjacent park less than a minute later - shook a nation still trying to recover from a series of deadly bombings this year, Reuters reported.

Authorities have determined that about 300kg to 400kg of explosives were used, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told CNN Turk.

There was no claim of responsibility, but Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and other officials said early indications pointed to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has carried out a three-decade insurgency, mainly in Turkey's largely Kurdish south-east.

Thirteen people have been detained.

"Sooner or later, we will have our vengeance. This blood will not be left on the ground, no matter what the price, what the cost," Mr Soylu said in a speech at a funeral at the Istanbul police headquarters for five of the officers killed.

President Tayyip Erdogan was present but did not speak, although he greeted and hugged some family members.

A video shows a chaotic scene outside the arena as police converged on the area and emergency medical workers loaded victims into ambulances. Several blocks away, police towed cars parked at Taksim Square, a tourist area, as a precaution.

Another video reportedly showing the father of one victim, a 19-year-old medical student who had been in Istanbul for the weekend, went viral on social media in Turkey.

"I don't want my son to be a martyr, my son was massacred," the father said.

"His goal was to be a doctor and help people like this, but now I am carrying him back in a funeral car."

Mr Christopher James, a freelance writer and teacher living in Istanbul, told CNN he was at a hotel not far from the arena.

He said: "We could hear and see the boom, and then after the boom, the sound came back towards us.

"It sounded like gunshots reverberating and then my phone started buzzing like crazy."

Mr Ramazan Hakki Oztan, a historian from Istanbul who was attending a gathering near the arena, also saw the blasts. He was near the arena earlier in the day and noticed a heavy police presence.

He said: "I think they targeted the cops that were out there by the stadium who were protecting the spectators."

Flags flew at half mast, and yesterday was declared a day of national mourning.

A march against terrorism had been called in Istanbul.

President Erdogan cancelled a planned trip to Kazakhstan, his office said.

He told reporters outside a hospital where he has been visiting some of the injured: "What we must focus on is this terror burden.

"Our people should have no doubt we will continue our battle against terror until the end." - WIRES SERVICES

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