Thousands of people across Turkey, including representatives from trade unions and opposition parties, on Wednesday commemorated the third anniversary of a deadly terrorist attack that killed 103 civilians and wounded more than 500 others outside the main train station in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
“We will never forget Oct. 10. The pain of this massacre is still burning our hearts. Our anger is as fresh as our pain,” Arzu Çerkezoğlu, the head of the leftist Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), said during the ceremony held in memory of the 103 victims of the attack.
On Oct. 10, 2015 twin suicide bomb attacks carried out by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) killed 103 people and wounded hundreds of others who had gathered for a peace rally outside Ankara’s main train station.
The ceremony was attended by the Confederation of Public Laborers Unions (KESK), the Turkish Union of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), the Oct. 10 Peace and Solidarity Association and thousands of civilians. The commemoration was also attended by Co-Chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Sezai Temelli and deputies from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
The program started with a moment of silence for the victims. “Our outrage grows every day since we know the real murderers are free. Another reason that feeds our disappointment and anger is the stance taken by the ruling party before the massacre took place and during the prosecution,” Çerkezoğlu said.
She vowed their anger would not cease until all those who were behind the attacks are tried. “We will not let them make us forget this incident,” she said.
The commemoration took place under heavy security. During the ceremony the police reportedly attacked a group of participants. In the beginning, the riot police had said only those injured in the Ankara attack and the relatives of the deceased, whose names were indicated on the a list in their possession, would be allowed to enter the site of the commemoration.
In the meantime, police attacked the crowd, using their shields. CHP deputy Murat Emir described the commotion, which erupted between the groups gathered and the police and in which one person was beaten, on his social media account, saying, “There is no toleration even for mourning.” Upon the reaction of the crowd, the police permitted people to enter the site.
Police also attacked a commemoration for victims of the Ankara massacre in Van province and detained HDP and KESK members. KESK held a press briefing in Van to mark the third anniversary of the Ankara massacre and called those responsible to account. Turkish police forces did reportedly not allow the gathering to take place and used disproportionate force on the crowd.
HDP deputy Murat Sarısaç was reportedly battered by the police, and HDP Van provincial branch co-chair Ümit Dede and 10 members of unions under KESK were taken into custody.