Many leading politicians rushed to condemn the terrorist attacks that took place in the Turkish capital Ankara on Saturday, leaving almost 100 people dead and over 200 injured.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said that he was “devastated”.
“I was devastated by the news of the terrorist attack that claimed the lives of dozens and dozens of people in the capital of Turkey, an important ally of Estonia. I extend my deepest condolences to the next of kin of the deceased and the people of Turkey in general,” Ilves said in his letter of condolences to the Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand also condemned the act.
“Heartfelt condolences to the relatives of the people killed in the terrorist act, and to everyone who is effected by this. You are in our thoughts at this difficult time,” Kaljurand said, in a letter to her counterpart in Turkey, Feridun Sinirlioğlu.
The blasts took place near Ankara's central train station as people gathered for a march organized by leftist groups demanding an end to the violence between the Turkish government and Kurdish separatist PKK militants.
Some sources say that Islamic State (IS) could be behind the attack, but this has not been verified yet.
Defense Minister Hannes Hanso, while condemning the attacks, said that the events in Turkey are concerning. “Turkey is a NATO ally and a very strong partner in many international issues.Tensions in the Middle East region have constantly grown in last few years, especially in the light of Syrian civil war and the spread of IS. Some of those tensions have now crossed the Turkish border,” Hanso said in an interview with Eesti Päevaleht.
Hanso added that Turkey is also under financial pressure, by providing shelter for almost 2 million Syrian refugees. “Turkey handles more asylum seekers than the European Union combined.”
Turkey is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Estonians. According to Foreign Ministry's registry, almost 400 Estonians are in Turkey right now, although just five are in Ankara.
Editor: S. Tambur