Turkish court sentences nine people to life for 2015 Ankara bombings

ANKARA (Reuters) - A Turkish court jailed nine defendants for life on Friday for twin bombings in the capital Ankara in 2015 that killed more than 100 people, Turkish broadcasters reported.

The suicide bombings, the deadliest such attacks on Turkish soil, targeted a peace rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists outside Ankara’s main train station.

A total 36 suspected Islamic State supporters were charged, some of them in absentia, with murder, membership of a terrorist organization, and seeking to change the constitutional order.

The attack 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.

Testimony at the trial, which opened in 2016, highlighted flaws in border security and intelligence which lawyers say allowed parts of Turkey to become a rear base for jihadists.

At the time Islamic State was increasingly active in Turkey. A gun-and-bomb attack blamed on the group at Istanbul’s main airport in June 2016 killed 47 people, while the bombing of a Kurdish wedding in the southern city of Gaziantep two months later killed 57.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Dominic Evans