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The blast occurred in the southeastern city of Gaziantep, where people were in the street celebrating a wedding. (Photo: Getty)

More Than 50 Dead in Turkey After Suicide Blast at Kurdish Wedding

Suicide bombing said to be deadliest attack in Turkey this year

Deirdre Fulton

At least 51 people were killed and dozens more injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a Kurdish wedding celebration in southeastern Turkey late Saturday night. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that the Islamic State (ISIS) was behind the attack, and that the suicide bomber was a child between 12 and 14 years old. No entity has claimed official responsibility. 

The New York Times reports:

More than 200 people had packed onto a narrow street in the district of Sahinbey, close to the Syrian border, for the Kurdish wedding when the explosion occurred around 11 p.m., witnesses said.

“We had just walked past the wedding and offered our good wishes when we heard the blast,” said Ibrahim Ates, who lives in the area. “Suddenly people started running past us. When we went back to see what had happened, everyone was on the floor, and there were body parts scattered everywhere and blood splattered on the walls.”

Women and children were reportedly among the dead. 

According to the Associated Press, the blast in Gaziantep, near Turkey's border with Syria, "was the deadliest attack in Turkey this year." Forty-four people died when ISIS militants attacked the airport in Istanbul earlier this summer. 

Reuters reports:

Islamic State has been blamed for other attacks in Turkey, often targeting Kurdish gatherings in an effort to inflame ethnic tensions. The deadliest one was last October, when suicide bombers killed more than 100 people at a rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists in Ankara.

[...] Saturday's wedding party was for a member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, it said, and the groom was among those injured. The bride was not hurt, one local official said.

The attack comes in the wake of a failed coup and subsequent human rights crackdown in Turkey

According to the BBC:

In a written statement published by local media (in Turkish), Mr Erdogan argued there was "no difference" between IS, the Kurdish militants of the PKK, and followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he blames for the coup attempt last month.

AP notes that Turkish authorities issued a media blackout on coverage of the attack until the investigation is completed.


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