ANKARA: An Ankara court on Friday handed multiple life sentences to nine suspects convicted over the October 2015 bombing on a peace rally outside the capital’s train station, the deadliest attack in Turkey’s modern history.
The nine suspects were each handed 101 life sentences, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
It said 100 people were killed in the double suicide attack blamed on Islamic State jihadists, although at the time the death toll was given as 102.
They were given one life sentence apiece for each of those killed and one additional life sentence for seeking to violate the constitutional order.
They were also given additional sentences of 10,557 years each for seeking to kill the hundreds of people who were present at the rally.
The bombing on October 10, 2015 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.
Supporters of the victims have until now bitterly criticised the slowness of the investigation into the attack and the trial, which got underway in November 2016.
The bombing increased tensions with Turkey’s Kurdish minority which accused the government of not doing enough to prevent them being targeted by IS.
Turkey was in 2015 and 2016 hit by a succession of attacks that left hundreds dead in the bloodiest terror strikes in its history.
The attacks were blamed on IS jihadists as well as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who have battled the Turkish state in an over three-decade insurgency.
The horror reached a peak just 75 minutes into 2017 on New Year’s night when 39 people were killed, mainly foreigners, in a gun attack by a jihadist gunman on an elite nightclub in Istanbul.
After the attack on the Reina nightclub, there had been a lull in such events in Turkey but the tension and high security in cities including Istanbul and Ankara never went away.
The Uzbek gunman who carried out the Reina attack, Abdulgadir Masharipov, was detained by the authorities after 17 days on the run and is now on trial.
IS claimed that attack, the first clear claim it has ever issued for any attack in Turkey. It never claimed the Ankara bombing although Turkish officials said it was behind the attack.