Three top Ankara police officials sacked after bombings

Turkish riot police forces secure the site of twin explosions, near the main train station in Turkey's capital Ankara, on Oct 10, 2015.
Turkish riot police forces secure the site of twin explosions, near the main train station in Turkey's capital Ankara, on Oct 10, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (AFP) - Three top Turkish police officials were sacked on Wednesday (Oct 14)  over the weekend’s twin blasts in Ankara, as the under-fire president paid homage to the 97 killed in the country’s bloodiest attacks.

The Turkish interior ministry said the officials fired included the head of police for the greater Ankara area, as well as his intelligence and public security chiefs, amid accusations of security lapses.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan laid a wreath in front of the city’s railway station where two suicide bombers blew themselves up on Saturday (Oct 10) in a crowd of leftist and pro-Kurdish activists attending a peace rally.

The government has said the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is the prime suspect behind the attack, which also injured more than 500.

Without giving further details, Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey had received intelligence indicating that the Ankara attack may be linked to Syria, where ISIS militants have captured swathes of territory up to the Turkish border.

The weekend bombings have raised political tensions to new highs as Turkey prepares for a Nov  1 snap election, with polarisation within the country now greater than ever.

Erdogan has admitted there were security shortcomings but said their magnitude would only be made clear later. He has ordered a top-level probe into the bombings.

There have been growing indications that the authorities are focusing on possible parallels or even links to a July 20 suicide bombing at a peace rally in Suruc on the Syrian border that killed 34.

The government blamed ISIS for that attack, which also targeted a gathering of pro-Kurdish and leftist activists.