Suspect 'Identified' and Islamic State Blamed for Turkish Border Town Bombing

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said border security would be increased as authorities probe the connections of a specific person they believe was a suicide bomber tied to Islamic State militants.

by VICE News
Jul 21 2015, 1:15pm

Imagen por Deniz Toprak

Turkish authorities claimed they have identified a suspect for a bombing that killed 32 people and wounded nearly 100 in the southeast of the country on Monday — as anger rises on who was to blame.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that officials are probing the international and domestic connections of a person they believe was a suicide bomber tied to Islamic State (IS) militants. Davutoglu did not elaborate on the identity of the suspect.

Neither the IS group nor any other group has claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred in Suruc, near Turkey's border with Syria. Turkish officials have said that they believe the attack was retaliation for Turkey's recent steps against IS militants.

Related: Dozens Killed In Bomb Attack On Turkish Border Town

The bombing targeted a leftist group called the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF), members of whom were holding a news conference about efforts to rebuild the city of Kobane across the border.

Following the attack, Davutoglu said that border security would certainly need to be increased. "We are face to face with a terrorism incident," he said. "We have the willpower to find and certainly punish those who are responsible."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was in Cyprus on an official visit when the bombing occurred, was briefed on the investigation, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

"I personally and on behalf of my nation condemn and curse those who perpetrated this savagery," Erdogan said in a news conference broadcast on Turkish television.

Kurds and their supporters reacted angrily to the bombing, often blaming the ruling AKP party, which many accuse of backing IS or turning a blind eye to its operations in Turkey.

Demonstrations were held in a number of cities on Monday evening. Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse large crowds of protesters gathered in central Istanbul chanting slogans against President Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP.

Turkish police use water cannon on protestors during a demonstration in Istanbul on Monday. Photo by Ulas Yunus Tosun/EPA.

The rally was largely peaceful, although some of the protesters responded by throwing stones and launching fireworks at police. A small group later vandalized banks in the city's Cihangir neighborhood as helicopters hovered overhead. 

Related: Turkish Police Use Water Cannons, Rubber Bullets, and Tear Gas on Gay Pride Parade

VICE News's John Beck contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.