The death toll from Saturday night’s twin bombings in Istanbul has risen to 44, of whom 36 were police officers, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag was cited as saying by state-run Anadolu agency and other media on Monday.
An offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group claimed responsibility for the bombings outside an Istanbul soccer stadium, which also wounded around 150 people.
The outlawed group has waged a bloody campaign against the Turkish state since 1984.
The blasts, which took place late on Saturday and partially reported on Sunday, saw a car bomb exploding outside the home stadium of football giants Besiktas and less than a minute later, a suicide attacker blew himself up by a group of police at a nearby park.
The carnage prompted a sharp response from Erdogan, who defiantly vowed Ankara would “fight the scourge of terrorism right to the end”.
“They should know that they will not get away with it… They will pay a heavier price.”
In a ceremony for five of the victims at the city’s police headquarters, officers carried in the coffins draped with flags as Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim looked on before speaking with the bereaved families.
“Sooner or later we will have our revenge,” Interior Minister Suleman Soylu told the mourners. “The arm of the law is long.”
Soylu had earlier said 30 police, seven civilians and one person yet to be identified had died in the blasts which had also wounded another 155 people. “The findings point to the PKK,” he said. Thirteen people have been detained over the blasts.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the attack had targeted police.
“Experts say at least 300-400 kilogrammes of explosives had been used. There was a pit where the car detonated,” he said on CNN Turk television.
Besiktas is one of Istanbul’s most popular football clubs, and its fans are known for their anti-establishment views.
They famously played a big role in the 2013 protests against Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time.
In an earlier statement, Erdogan said that the name of the group behind the attack did not matter.
Courtesy : Dawn News