ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
Aydın Özkan took a deep breath on his cigarette after he ended a phone call yesterday morning, about the details of his little daughter's burial, just hours after her hapless and tragic death in Sunday night's bloody bomb attack in Istanbul's Güngören that killed 17 people.
�Bury her with other [victims]. Never mind, don't we have all the same pain?� said the mother of 12-year-old Şeyma, Selma Özkan, to her husband.
Şeyma, who was among the five child victims of Sunday night's double bomb explosion, died on the fifth-floor balcony of her house, which is at the opposite corner from where the second bomb exploded. Şeyma was out with her mother and father to see what had happened after the first, smaller explosion occurred only 50 meters away from their house. �They looked out from the balcony and turned back to the house as they were afraid of a second explosion. The second explosion occurred after a few minutes and Şeyma fell down in blood at the doorstep of the balcony. She died at the house,� said Şeyma's cousin, Sema Özkan, as she broke into tears. An unidentified object hit Şeyma in her heart, leading to her death.
�You cannot even shoot [her] from here, even you target,� her father said to a friend who came to offer condolences.
Words are not enough
Most of the neighborhood residents who witnessed the explosions agree that Sunday night was a horrific night and that words would not be enough to describe the scene after the explosion. Many witnesses were talking about arms, legs and other body parts that were broken away from victims' bodies, along with dozens of injured people. �It was ferocious last night,� said Orhan Çebi, owner of a barbershop 250 meters away from the explosions. Çebi was at the scene to help the injured when the second explosion came. He was not injured and was among the residents who helped officials and doctors to carry victims and injured people all night.
�While we were covering a body, the second explosion occurred. Words will not be enough to tell the cruelty of that scene. This is an event that I cannot forget until my death,� Çebi said. After helping officials, Çebi suffered from a nervous breakdown and required medical support.
Flags after the bombs
The consternation on Menderes Çıkmazı Street Sunday night turned into rage and pain as the hours passed. The houses on nearby streets hung Turkish flags in their windows and balconies protesting the bombings, which there are allegations were perpetrated by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. There was a flag hanging from the balcony on which Şeyma died.
�This is a nationalist and conservative neighborhood. This place is consciously chosen in my belief, to increase reactions,� said Tahsin Doğan, a lawyer from the neighborhood.
Towards the afternoon, the explosions began to lead to arguments among people. Nerves were tense, leading to arguments about the Ergenekon investigation and the PKK. Two unidentified men argued with another young man, alleging that he did not belong to the neighborhood and demanding him to leave. When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived in the neighborhood, a group of around 100 people gathered behind the police barricade and chanted �Damn the PKK� and �We want the PM to come here.�
Opposition leader Deniz Baykal of the Republican People's Party, or CHP, also visited the scene.