Turkey's Erdogan: We need unity in the face of terrorism

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for unity in the face of terrorism and vowed that those responsible for Sunday's bomb blast in Istanbul that killed 17 people would be brought to justice, reported dpa.

"Terror has shown its true face (but) they will not achieve their dark aims," Erdogan told party colleagues in Ankara. "We shall overcome these difficult days and come together in days for which we are worthy."

Erdogan refused to name whom he believed to be behind the blast, instead calling on the media to allow the police and intelligence services to complete their work.

As the families of the dead continued funeral preparations, police were seeking a man in a black shirt who was captured on a mobile phone camera running down the street in the Istanbul suburb of Gungoren just seconds before the second blast hit, Yenisafak newspaper reported on Tuesday.

A first small bomb which had been placed in a rubbish bin on a crowded pedestrian street in the working class suburb exploded at around 9:45 pm (1645 GMT) Sunday night and was followed by a much larger blast around 10 to 12 minutes later and around 50 metres down the street. More than 150 people were injured in the blast.

Yenisafak reported that police had raided a number of houses around the city in their search for the attackers.

Turkish newspapers on Tuesday concentrated on allegations that the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) was behind the blast, quoting Istanbul governor Muammer Guler who said the attack seemed linked to the separatist organization and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said the attack could be a reprisal for continued attacks on the PKK in Turkey's south-east and airstrikes on PKK positions in northern Iraq.

The PKK on Monday denied involvement, instead saying it could be linked to fiercely-secularist nationalists in the so-called Ergenekon group who have allegedly been behind organised attacks and plotted assassinations of prominent Turks with the aim of destabilizing Erdogan's government.

A first group of 86 alleged members of Ergenekon are to go on trial in October charged with creating a terrorist group. They have been accused of planning attacks that would give the army a pretext to launch a military coup.

The leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), Ahmet Turk, on Tuesday condemned comments by Erdogan that certain political parties are supporting terror, a reference to the DTP's refusal to name the PKK as a terrorist organization, saying the prime minister's comments were a clear provocation.

"Does he want to start another lynch campaign against our party?" Turk told party colleagues. Turk also said that immediately blaming the PKK for the attack was wrong, as was what he described as "learned by rote sayings" condemning terror.

"(What has to be asked is) why did this terrible slaughter happen in Turkey, in Istanbul? To what point are the people behind this attack trying to bring Turkey to?" Turk said in an apparent reference to the Ergenekon group.

Interior Minister Besir Atalay told parliament on Tuesday that police had found parts of a mobile phone that they believe was used to detonate the main bomb.

He also confirmed that TNT explosives were used in both bombs. Many newspapers had linked the reported use of RDX plastic explosives to previous PKK bombings which had used the same explosives material. dpa cw sc

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