18-02-2020 10:01 PM Jerusalem Timing

Turkey Braces for Tense Polls after Deadly Attack

Turkey Braces for Tense Polls after Deadly Attack

Turkey on Saturday prepared for its tightest elections in over a decade, with tensions riding high after a bomb attack killed two and wounded dozens at a rally of the main pro-Kurdish party.

TurkeyTurkey on Saturday prepared for its tightest elections in over a decade, with tensions riding high after a bomb attack killed two and wounded dozens at a rally of the main pro-Kurdish party.

Judicial sources said the explosions at a rally Friday of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir was caused by a cylinder bomb packed with hundreds of ball bearings.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is hoping to take a large majority in Sunday's legislative elections and change the constitution to give Turkey's charismatic but divisive President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power.

But polls have indicated that its vote could be well down on the almost 50 percent score the AKP reaped in the last elections in 2011 and that it may even need to form a coalition.

Tensions soared after the twin explosions at the HDP rally, which judicial sources and the government confirmed were caused by a bomb.

"The experts collected hundreds of ball bearings and pieces of the metal cylinder," said a judicial source, who asked not to be named.

The source confirmed that no suspect had yet been arrested over the blast but fingerprint and video evidence had been found.

Two blasts several minutes apart rocked the rally. It was the second blast which caused the casualties.

Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said "one of the explosions was caused by TNT and the other was very likely caused by TNT." Mobile phones had been used for the detonations, he added.

In a statement, Diyarbakir prosecutors confirmed that two people had been killed and over 100 wounded.

The funeral was held Saturday morning for one of those killed, Ramazan Yildiz, who was only 17, an AFP photographer reported.