Aside from a carefully worded statement urging unity, President Tayyip Erdogan was unusually quiet after Turkey's worst ever bomb attack. Modern Turkey's most divisive leader has in the past had no hesitation in dominating the air waves at times of crisis, rallying his fervent supporters and lambasting his opponents in equal measure in defence of the state.
But the double suicide bombing that killed up to 128 people at a rally by pro-Kurdish and leftist activists on Saturday, three weeks before an election, has sparked criticism of Erdogan's administration just as Turkey is already beset by conflict in its Kurdish southeast and seemingly paralyzed by the growing spillover from Syria's war.
For those loyal to Erdogan and the Islamist-rooted AK Party he founded, the bombings marked another murky conspiracy by foreign-backed forces to undermine the Turkish state and damage its standing in the Middle East.
— Alba Ferrer (@Alba_at_work) October 11, 2015
His opponents, including the pro-Kurdish opposition party, apparently targeted in the blasts, have criticized Erdogan's administration for intelligence failings and even complicity, in a bid to stir up nationalist sentiment.
Wolfango Piccoli, managing director of London-based Teneo Intelligence told Reuters:
"Once the initial shock has subsided, the attack appears likely to exacerbate the already deep cleavages in a dangerously divided society."
The chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, Gökay Sofuoglu has warned of violent clashes between Kurds and nationalist Turks in Germany. "Just as the atmosphere is now in Turkey, I fear a further escalation of here," he told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.
The polarization in Germany began when Erdogan became president, Sofuoglu said.
"As soon as something happens in Turkey, people take to the streets."
In Paris, several thousand people, mostly Kurds, protested Sunday between Place de la République and Châtelet, in the center of the capital, carrying Kurdish flags and banners of different Kurdish political movements. The demonstrators chanted "Erdogan assassin" and "political solution for Kurdistan."