The President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, blames the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for the bombing that struck a Kurdish wedding celebration in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep last Saturday night, which killed at least 51, including children. The country’s officials claim that the attack was carried out by a child between the age of 12 and 14.
Not much is known about the child suspect yet as investigations are ongoing. Moreover, although a suicide vest was found at the scene, authorities cannot say if the boy blew himself up or the bomb was set off remotely.
On top of the death toll, officials say that 70 individuals have been injured. The bride and groom were unscathed.
Although ISIS has not took responsibility for the attack, the bombing is believed to be the terrorist group’s retaliation for Kurdish advances in Northern Syria. The group was forced out of Manbij by the US-supported militia about two weeks ago.
“This was not a random target and not just any wedding,” Mahmut Toğrul, a local MP, says during an interview with the Guardian. “Most of the people celebrating at the wedding were HDP supporters. People came together to celebrate. They were defenceless. [Isis] has always targeted civilians, but we need to see this attack as a revenge attack on Kurds.”
Some of the funerals were held on Sunday. Mourners were seen throwing bottles at police officers and shouting “Shame on you, Erdoğan.”
Toğrul adds that the government has ignored the ISIS threat for years. He laments that the necessary precautions were not taken.
Metin Gurcan, a security analyst, urged the Turkish government to improve its security policy and approach.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım urged the country’s citizens to not allow the attack to divide them. Yıldırım calls everyone to stand up against terrorism.