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Grief-stricken Turks bury Ankara victims, venting anger at Erdogan

Adem Altan, AFP | This photo taken on October 12, 2015 shows pieces of the traditional bread simits, a banner reading 'Peace Now' , and photos of victims at the site of the October 10 bombings in Ankara.

Grieving loved ones on Monday laid to rest some of the victims of the double suicide bombings in Ankara that left 97 dead, denouncing the government in the first funerals from modern Turkey's worst attack.

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The bombings targeted a peace rally Saturday organised by trade union, leftist and Kurdish groups that had mobilised activists from across the country.

After being identified at the Ankara morgue, the victims' bodies were sent to their home regions for burial.

Funerals were held Monday in Ankara and Istanbul as well as in cities in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast.

The leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas attended several funerals in Istanbul where many coffins were draped in the yellow and red colours of the Kurdish flag.

Demirtas stood stony-faced and was seen solemnly embracing relatives. Two HDP members who were running in the upcoming November 1 parliamentary elections were killed in the twin blasts.

Among those laid to rest in Istanbul was Fatma Esen, 38, a mother of two children, whose funeral ceremony in the Gazi district was attended by some 2,000 people.

Her coffin was borne to the grave only by women, an AFP photographer reported.

Mourners shouted slogans against the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom they hold responsible for the attack. "Killer State! Killer Erdogan!" they chanted.

There were no officials representing the Turkish government.

'Turkey close to identifying one of two bombers'

Also among those buried in Istanbul was 17-year-old high school student Dicle Deli, the Hurriyet daily reported.

She had taken a smiling selfie of herself and fellow demonstrators on the bus on their way to the rally that was widely published in the Turkish press.

"We promise to win peace for you, Dicle," her friends chanted before she was laid to rest in the Silivrikapi cemetery on the European side of Istanbul.

In the Aegean city of Izmir, some 1,000 people turned out to bid farewell to Ayse Deniz, a local leader of the HDP, and Berna Koc, a student, the Milliyet daily said.

In the capital, mourners said their last farewells to 32-year-old Uygar Coskun, a prominent Ankara lawyer, whose relatives clasped the black-swathed coffin in emotion.

Other funeral ceremonies took place across southeastern and eastern Turkish cities including Batman, Bitlis, Hakkari, and Kars, media reports said.

Those killed ranged from a nine-year-old boy to a 70-year-old grandmother. The government has said that Islamic State (IS) jihadists were most likely behind the atrocity.

(AFP)

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