The explosions at the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally were harshly condemned by Turkish President and political leaders, and described as “provocation attempt.”
Two people died in the immediate aftermath of Friday afternoon’s twin blasts at the center of the HDP rally in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakir, and the reports said that a third person critically wounded in the blast died on Saturday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the blasts and said the people who placed the bombs were aiming to overshadow Sunday’s general election.
“Democratic expansion, national unity and brotherhood projects and solution process. There are groups who want to overshadow these things,” said Erdogan at a live television program on Friday night, adding “We said earlier, the government and myself, that we are going to look after the solution process.”
The Solution Process has been initiated in 2013 to resolve the three-decade long conflict between the government and the outlawed PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as NATO and the EU, that has claimed the lives of 40,000 people.
Prime Minister and the head of governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Ahmet Davutoglu also slammed the attack and stressed that the explosions were an attempt to damage Turkey’s democracy.
“No matter why, whoever has done this attack, the perpetrators target Turkey and Turkish democracy,” said Davutoglu in a late night interview on a television channel.
"The dirty hands or circles that were aware of the heavy consequences of such manipulations carried out this attack," added Davutoglu.
He also mentioned at a rally of his party on Saturday that “I invite all to be on alert, act prudently and with common sense. What matters is to peacefully go to the polls on Sunday.”
Both President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu stated that they called the head of HDP Selahattin Demirtas after the explosions, but they couldn’t take response because of Demirtas was not “available.”
Demirtas warned the locals who joined the Diyarbakir rally against acting out in fury, saying “Do not mind those who want to stir up your anger.”
After the blast, some groups attacked the police in Diyarbakir, throwing stones and burned a police vehicle.
The escort of Demirtas was also attacked with stones by locals with the assumption that it belonged to police officers.
On Saturday at his party’s Istanbul rally, Demirtas also slammed the attack, however, he accused President Erdogan of targeting his party with criticism.
Slamming down a couple of daily newspapers which Demirtas called as “partisans” of AK Party, he said “call these tatters targeting us instead of me!”
“My Muslim brothers, my sisters wearing headscarf! Don’t be afraid of overthrowing AK Party. All acquisitions will be protected. Go to the ballots tomorrow and vote for us. Let’s punish AK Party at the ballot box,” said Demirtas.
The head of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu condemned the attacks and portrayed the incident as a provocation.
“I’m deeply sorry. I learned that two people died. I wish Allah show mercy on them and restore the health to the injured people," Kilicdaroglu told reporters on Saturday. "
There is a very short period of time to the election, this could be a provocation, we all should be very careful,” said Kilicdaroglu.
The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government also released a statement on Saturday, condemning the attack and called for common sense.
“We are calling on all parties to follow legal procedures to find the perpetrators and the mastermind of the blasts. Authorities and citizens should not react in a violent manner,” said the statement.
Turkey will vote in the general election on Sunday, which HDP will be competing as a political party for the first time.