Ankara-The trial of 36 suspected ISIS group militants has begun on Monday in Ankara for Oct. 10, 2015 double suicide bombings that killed more than 100 people in the capital just over a year in the deadliest attack in Turkey.
The bombing outside Ankara’s main train station targeted mainly young people attending a peace rally of pro-Kurdish activists that was to start later that day.
The twin suicide bombing took place in NATO member Turkey 20 days before a fiercely contested general election, raising tensions between the authorities and opposition supporters among the Kurdish community, Turkey’s largest minority.
Thirty-five of the suspects are Turkish while one –Valentina Slobodjanjuk – is a Kazakh citizen.
Several of the suspects face multiple sentences of up to 11,750 years in prison each on charges of murder and seeking to change the constitutional order.
Others have lesser charges of being a member of ISIS and face up to 22.5 years in prison.
The hearing took place under the highest security, with security forces in body armor and helmets standing guard inside the courtroom, images showed.
The authorities have identified one of the suicide bombers as Turkish citizen Yunus Emre Alagoz; the other was a Syrian citizen who has yet to be identified.
ISIS has grown increasingly active in Turkey, which has in the last year been hit by a string of major suicide bombings blamed on ISIS including a triple attack at Istanbul’s main airport in June that left 47 dead and an August blast at a Kurdish wedding in the southeastern city of Gaziantep that killed 57 people, 34 of them children.
ISIS, which is believed to operate sleeper cells in major Turkish cities, never claimed these attacks.
A news agency affiliated with ISIS said they staged a bombing on the southeastern city of Diyarbakir last week that killed 11. If confirmed, it would be the first claim by ISIS for an attack in Turkey.
But Sunday, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), seen as an splinter group of the better-known Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), said it had carried out the attack.