ISTANBUL – TDN with wire dispatches
Finding those responsible for the July 27 explosions in Istanbul's Güngören district that killed 17 people and wounded 154 others came about as the result of a confession by the man accused of carrying out the attack. According to the interior minister, the terrorist group responsible for the attack was the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
Speaking at a press conference held at the Istanbul Police Department headquarters, Interior Minister Beşir Atalay said the case had been solved.
On July 27 a percussion bomb exploded at 10 p.m. in Güngören, followed by another bigger bomb a few minutes later. After the first bomb many came to the scene to help the injured and see the damage and were caught by the second, and more devastating, explosion. Among the 17 dead were a 7.5-month pregnant woman and four children.
Eight members of the PKK were arrested by the court late Saturday for the attack.
Atalay said the group was also responsible for the explosion in Istanbul's Büyükçekmece district last June that wounded 10 people.
�There are 27 people still being treated at hospitals for their injuries. There are none who are in critical condition, but still we are closely following their state. I can happily say that the matter is solved. We have irrefutable evidence and have detained most of the suspects. Those who aided and abetted the bombers are also under arrest. The terrorist group is responsible for the attack. We see this as an important success for our police department,� the minister said. �Terrorist group� is used by officials to denote the PKK without giving a name.
The timing of the bombing meant the explosion was seen as a revenge attack by the PKK, which is under pressure from the Turkish military in the southeast of the country and in northern Iraq. However, after the PKK denied any involvement and condemned the attack some speculated that the ultra-nationalist group Ergenekon could have been responsible.
A total of 86 people, including former generals and party leaders, are currently on trial for a series of crimes, including bombings and assassinations designed to cause chaos and instability and spur a military coup. In the indictment against the group, the prosecutor argued that Ergenekon had links to other terrorist groups.
Atalay said the police were still investigating the matter and would leave no stone unturned.
Of the 10 people detained, eight were arrested for being PKK members, with two being released.
Atalay said TNT and pieces of metal were used in the bombs, and, with the metal garbage can, the aim was to inflict the highest number of casualties.
According to reports, one of the arrested suspects was identified by witnesses as being at the scene of the bombing when the explosions occurred.
Milliyet daily reported that the suspect identified by the witnesses came from northern Iraq three months ago to commit a series of bombings. The daily said the suspect confessed to the crime after being shown video recordings of the explosion, and claimed that he had been told that the death toll would not be excessively high. Reportedly he saw the ensuing carnage after the explosion.
The lawyers for the suspect told the pro-PKK Fırat news agency that the police had detained the wrong person.