Forty-eight children lost at least one parent in the attack, including 31 who lost both, social services official Fevzi Hamidi told Anatolian Agency, adding that many families had applied to adopt the orphans.

"But the relatives do not wish to give the children up for adoption and the children want to stay with their relatives," he said, stressing that psychologists would continue the rehabilitation work in Bilge.

Masked gunmen armed with assault rifles attacked the engagement party in the Bilge village of the Mazidagi district on Monday, killing 44 people, including six children and 16 women, and injuring three others. The bride, the groom, his parents and 4-year-old sister, as well as three pregnant women were among the dead.

The carnage, which sent shockwaves across Turkey, is believed to have been motivated by long-running hostilities between rival families.


Another suspect has been arrested over the attack, bringing the number detained to 11, Interior Minister Besir Atalay was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying on Saturday.

The man was not suspected of being among the gunmen, but was found to be in possession of hand grenades and other ammunition as part of the investigation into the massacre, Atalay added.

Officials have said some of the suspects charged were members of state-supported "village guard" units, and were related to the victims.

The village guard system, established in 1985 to protect villages against attacks from the terror organization PKK, came under the spotlight in Turkey after Monday's attack. Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek have said the system could be revised or abolished.

Atalay Saturday ruled out the dissolution of the force, but added that the government was reconsidering its status.

"Village guards were involved in this incident … But the village guard system is not the direct cause," Atalay said.

"The village guard system may have dimensions that need to be criticized, debated and revised. And those are already being reviewed," he added.

His remarks came a day after Turkish military disagreed with the criticism of the village guard system voiced by the officials, saying it should not be held responsible for the attack.