A day of sombre rage

‘Intikam, intikam’, ‘Revenge, Revenge’ they shouted in unison, a day after the worst attacks in Turkish history

Photo by: TRT WORLD
Photo by: TRT WORLD

People are rallying in Ankara's central square

The death toll stood above ninety and anguish had given way to anger.

There were thousands of them; grieving, on this first of three-day mourning announced by the government.

They came to the blast site as a show of strength, but were met by police in riot gear and water cannons. The blast site was off-limits.

‘I lost a nephew here on Saturday’, said Eyup Ozhan. He was at the rally, a short distance from his twenty-five year old nephew when he was knocked over.

‘The explosion threw me back, but I was still conscious’, said a weeping Eyup, ‘It all happened very fast and when by the time I realised it, he was gone’, said Eyup.

Indifference turned to rage, once the realisation of loss set in and twenty-four hours later, Eyup stood a few metres from where his nephew had been killed. Police barricades separated Eyup from where his nephew died.

Now, he was demanding justice amid shouts of revenge.

Young policemen looked on, as mourners, visibly agitated and drained, turned back towards Ankara’s Sihhiye Square.

‘There will be no revenge’, said Selahattin Demirtas. The co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish HDP.

The man in black stood on an elevated platform on top of a large white bus. From there, he spoke for twenty-minutes, both enthralling and enraging his thousands of listeners at Sihhiye.

While Demirtas spoke, a cordon of HDP body-searchers went about frisking people, being cautious. They’d hoped October 10 was behind them.

‘We will win this with our peaceful ways’, said Demirtas as he riled up support. His speech then ended as a call to vote in elections on November 1.

Many relatives are still waiting for news in front of Ankara Numune Hospital. [TRT World - Natalie Pöyhönen]

Some of the marchers we spoke with at the rally, held a possible security lapse responsible for the attacks in Ankara.

The government denies this. Prime Minister Davutoglu's office told TRT World that the efforts to blame the government for a terrorist attack are counterproductive and meaningless. ‘It’s like saying that the White House orchestrated 9/11 — no person in their own right would believe such claims’, PM Davutoglu’s press director Cemalettin Hasimi told TRT World.

There have been reports that rally organisers had denied a police request to provide security at the event.

The ‘Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions of Turkey’, a leftist labor rights group commonly known as ‘DISK’, was one of the organisers. It was founded in 1967 and is linked to the HDP.

The ‘Confederation of Public Employees’ Union of Turkey’ or KESK, the other group, was also affiliated to ‘Peoples Democratic Party’ or HDP.

All groups were victims on October 10.

The young policemen look relaxed as Demirtas ends his speech. An officer chats with young cadets. They’ve been running their drills hard and can now relax. The helmets are off, and the tear gas canisters are being put back in the bag.

A thunderstorm hit Ankara a day after the suicide bombings to wash the bloody square. It was welcome relief for a resilient city that was united in grief.

Author: Ali Mustafa