At least 32 killed as blast hits southeast Turkey
Local official says explosion may have been caused by suicide bomber
At least 32 people were killed in a possible suicide bomb attack in southern Turkey on Monday, the Ministry of Health has announced.
Government sources have described Monday's blast as a "terror attack" that targeted Turkey’s unity and integrity, and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The attack took place at a community center in Suruc town of Sanliurfa, across the Syrian border from the town of Kobani, which had been the scene of a series of intense clashes between Kurdish forces and Daesh since last September
"One of our compatriots died in the evening. So we have lost 32 citizens," Turkish Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus said from Sanliurfa province, where he is part of a ministerial team sent to the scene of the attack.
The blast at a community center in Suruc, a town across the Syrian border from Kobani, saw 21 people declared dead at the scene. The attack seemingly targeted activists who planned to visit Kobani after it was devastated by fighting between Kurdish forces and Daesh.
Speaking to journalists in Ankara, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said more than 100 were injured in the attack and nine were in a critical condition in hospital.
He indicated Daesh had carried out the attack but Kurtulmus said no group had claimed responsibility.
“This is really a heavy and sad picture,” Kurtulmus told reporters. “Whatever and whoever is behind the attack will be illuminated.”
Earlier, Abdullah Ciftci, district governor of Suruc, said: “There is information that the explosion could be due to a suicide bomber and the security forces are conducting meticulous efforts.”
A team of forensic experts has arrived at the site of the explosion and security has been raised in the area, the Turkish Interior Ministry said previously in a statement.
The ministry called for calm, describing the blast as a “terror attack that targeted our country’s unity and integrity” and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"Turkey condemns the perpetrators of this heinous attack that targeted the peaceful environment and offers condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded," it added.
According to local media sources, the blast targeted members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations who had gathered in the garden of the Amara Cultural Center, which is run by the local municipality.
Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan condemned the "despicable" incident on his official Twitter account, saying terrorist attacks on Turkey's integrity and peace would never achieve their goal.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chairman of Republican People's Party (CHP), also condemned the "insidious" attack and said the party had sent a team to the town. The CHP called on local members to donate blood for those wounded in the blast.
The leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) issued a statement condemning the “inhuman and despicable” massacre.
Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag offered to collaborate with all political parties to stem further attacks.
The two leaders pinned the blame on Daesh militants and accused those who support the extremist group of being partners in the attack.
Earlier, the HDP announced they would hold an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday morning at the party's headquarters in capital Ankara.