“This square is a bloody square,” sang protesters at a peace rally in Ankara on the morning of Saturday October 10, moments before two bombs ripped through the gathering.
It was a few minutes after 10 AM and the square was soaked red in blood.
‘I saw severed limbs everywhere’, there were bodies piled up’, said a survivor who refused to be identified.
At least ninety-five people had been killed and dozens more were injured.
It was the worst attack ever, in Turkey.
‘She was the love of my life’, wailed a grieving mother. Inconsolable, she cried for the twenty-two year old daughter she had just lost in Ankara.
‘…all she wanted was to make a difference’, she said with tears flowing from her eyes.
The daughter was at the rally, raising her voice for an end to violence in southeast Turkey. She wanted a resumption of the peace-process with PKK, the outlawed Kurdish group. She ended up close to one of two bombs that exploded on Saturday morning, three weeks ahead of parliamentary elections. The run-up on November 1 follows an indecisive outcome in June.
It’s when the non-violent HDP, with historic connections to the PKK, emerged as the fourth biggest force in parliament. It was the first time a pro-Kurdish political group had made it to parliament after crossing the mandatory ten-percent threshold.
HDP’s victory came at the cost of other political groups including the AK party, which was unable to form a government or build a coalition.
HDP's success also excited and repulsed the PKK, the outlawed group which renounced a two-year ceasefire with Turkey on July 7, two weeks before Suruc.
Suruc marked the end of a two-year peace process with the PKK, which took to the mountains and have killed more than one hundred Turkish security personnel.
‘You need to understand our pain’, said Veysel, a Kurd who lost a nephew in the Ankara attacks. ‘He was asking for peace, he got death instead’, said Veysel of his twenty-year-old nephew, one of at least 95 people killed in Ankara.
Ankara resonates in the Turkish imagination as a fortress of solitude and a beacon of hope. Saturday’s killings will have ended these illusions, as the city and the principles it’s built on come under assault after a dark day of pain and suffering on a bloody square.
Author: Ali Mustafa