World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's leaders called for unity on Wednesday following a car bomb attack which heightened fears that PKK militants are exploiting chaos in neighbouring Syria and stepping up their decades-old attacks.
Unidentified assailants detonated the car bomb by a police station in the industrial city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border late on Monday, killing nine people including several children and wounding more than 60.
The president, prime minister and party leaders gathered in the city at a funeral for the victims of the attack, which came as families celebrated the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
"The best answer we as a nation can give is to form a (united) front and stand side by side, whatever our differences ... in the face of this act of terrorism," President Abdullah Gul told reporters after arriving in Gaziantep.
Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan lined up with other officials and said prayers in front of coffins wrapped in the red-and-white Turkish flag at a mosque in the city as tearful relatives looked on.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but some officials point the finger at the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, whose 28-year-old conflict with the state has killed more than 40,000 people. The PKK denied involvement.
Ankara is also investigating possible Syrian links to the blast, which has fuelled fears that the uprising in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad could add to the instability in southeast Turkey.
A sharp rise in militant violence in Turkey this month has reinforced the belief among Turkish officials that the PKK is receiving weapons from Assad's forces.
CONFLICT RARE IN GAZIANTEP
Citing a PKK militant arrested by security forces in July, Hurriyet newspaper on Wednesday said the Gaziantep attack had been planned by a PKK member in charge of the group's operations in the region around the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.
Gaziantep, 50 km (30 miles) from the Syrian border, has witnessed little of the trouble which has blighted much of the mainly Kurdish southeast since the PKK took up arms in 1984 with the aim of establishing an ethnic Kurdish state.
"There was never any terrorism here. The people embraced one another. They want to disturb the peace here," said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), urging cross-party cooperation to end the violence.
The city, one of Turkey's largest with a population of one million, has enjoyed growing affluence in recent years, thanks to an expanding industrial base and flourishing trade ties with Syria. The conflict across the border has now frozen those ties.
Ankara initially cultivated good relations with Assad's administration but relations have deteriorated since the uprising against him began 17 months ago.
Erdogan has become one of Assad's harshest critics and has raised the possibility of military intervention in Syria if the PKK becomes a threat to Turkey from Syrian territory.
Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci appeared to dismiss any suggestion that he might resign, saying that public duty should be performed for the full period in which it is assigned
The new 6.5 km undersea tunnel will reduce travel time between the two sides of Istanbul via metro and highway lines to 14 minutes.
Turkey has chosen a Chinese company as the preferred bidder for the $3.4 billion project but is also pressing ahead with talks with U.S. and European firms as questions remain about the Chinese proposal
Police detained a man, believed to be mentally unstable, for questioning
Friday's dailies mostly cover the Taliban bomb attack on a Turkish convoy in Afghanistan and Turkish football team Besiktas which dramatically beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties in the UEFA Europa League.
UN high commissioner for refugees says 3.8 million Syrian refugees are registered in neighboring countries.
Turkish defense contractor Aselsan and French defense contractor Thales on Thursday agreed to install Thales-made Lightweight Multi-role Missiles on Turkish Aselsan's launch-pad
Babacan met PM late on Wednesday, triggering speculation but officials dismiss talk of resignation
A mosque was torched Wednesday near the southern city of Bethlehem.
Premier Davutoglu says such attacks will never discourage Turkey from contributing to maintaining peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Ramazan Akyurek detained in Ankara after Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office ordered the detention.
Thursday’s dailies focus on Turkish president Erdogan’s remarks on latest interest rate cut, aftermath of military aircraft crash in eastern Turkey and further details on 'Shah Firat' operation in Turkey's Syrian exclave.
Turkish President questions whether central bank was under external influence in a speech given in Ankara today.
Turkish parliament’s general assembly accepts first 20 articles of 132-article domestic security package.
Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek tells Canadian Turks that community groups should become more united.