Mother saves dozens of lives in Bingöl suicide bombing

A woman who jumped into a suicide bomber in order to protect her children in an attack that killed two and injured 21 in Bingöl on Saturday saved the lives of dozens of people, experts say.

Hatice Belgin, a mother of four, threw herself onto the suicide bomber to protect her children. (Photo: AA)

Hatice Belgin, a mother of four, threw herself onto the suicide bomber to protect her children. (Photo: AA)

The attack is believed to have been carried out by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has not denied responsibility.

The attack occurred near a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) office in the predominantly Kurdish city at 1:20 p.m. on Saturday. Details surrounding the attack began to surface Sunday, with witnesses stating that a woman who has been identified as Hatice Belgin threw herself onto the female suicide bomber, who was trying to detonate explosives strapped to her body, in order to protect her children. Belgin had been shopping in the area with her three children. Her sacrifice saved many lives, Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz said.

Yılmaz visited Belgin’s children — Veysel (16), Ceylan (14) and Hazal (11) — at Bingöl State Hospital on Sunday. Doctors report that Veysel remains in critical condition. After being briefed on the explosion by Governor Mustafa Hakan Güvençer, Yılmaz announced in a statement to the press that experts are still investigating the specifics of the attack. “It is possible the woman who died saved the lives of many others. Perhaps she rammed into the suicide bomber, or something else happened. These will all be known once the investigation is complete. Currently, we are guessing that this woman was shopping for the Eid al-Adha with her children. It looks like she saved the lives of many others but lost her own.”

Belgin’s body was returned to Bingöl after a post-mortem examination at the Malatya Council of Forensic Medicine. She was buried at Şeyh Ahmet Cemetery following a funeral at Fatih Mosque in Bingöl’s Yeşilyurt neighborhood. Minister Yılmaz, Governor Güvençer and Bingöl Mayor Serdar Atalay attended the funeral. They also visited Belgin’s relatives to offer their condolences.

Yılmaz and his aides also visited the family of Mehmet Çibuk, the other person killed in the attack.

A message from the BDP

Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chairpersons Selahattin Demirtaş and Gültan Kışanak released a message expressing their sympathy with the families of the victims. “We have never condoned any acts of violence directed at ending human lives, and we never will,” said the written statement. They also called for a through investigation into the attack.

The PKK has been increasingly targeting civilians. It killed four young women in September riding in a van as it drove by a police academy. However, the PKK later issued a statement that the civilian deaths were an accident and the bomb was intended for a police car.

In Diyarbakır on Saturday, police used water cannons to disperse stone-throwing youths who were protesting that the bodies of 24 PKK militants killed in a military operation more than a week ago were still being held in a morgue in nearby Malatya province.

The Turkish military killed a total of 49 after mounting a hunt for militants along the border with northern Iraq after 24 Turkish soldiers were killed in simultaneous attacks on posts in Hakkari, Turkey’s most southeasterly province.

In Hakkari on Saturday, soldiers shot a mule packed with explosives they suspect was sent towards them by militants. Their shots detonated the explosives on the animal.

There were reports on Sunday of Turkish fighter jets taking off from a military airbase in Diyarbakır and bombing parts of northern Iraq where the PKK has camps.



30 October 2011, Sunday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL