Hero's farewell for slain Turkish policeman after Izmir bomb
IZMIR - The policeman killed after a car bomb hit the Turkish city of Izmir was given a hero's farewell Friday after the prime minister said his actions had prevented an even "greater disaster".
Fethi Sekin and a court worker named as Musa Can were killed after the bomb exploded outside a courthouse in the Aegean city of Izmir in an attack blamed on Kurdish militants. Nine people were also wounded.
The two dead were remembered in an emotional ceremony at the courthouse attended by thousands including Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag.
Officials praised traffic policeman Sekin for preventing a "massive massacre" after he stopped the car and chased down the two assailants before the explosion and the subsequent gunfight. The attackers were killed during clashes.
"He prevented a greater disaster byignoring his own life and by giving his life. He showed great heroism neutralising those committing these cowardly plans," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said late Thursday.
"In our Izmir, he saved many innocent fellow townsmen from a major disaster."
The two men's coffins were draped in the red and white Turkish flag and carried in a hall watched by hundreds of mourners including court workers and members of the ruling party.
"This attack was not only against the judges, prosecutors, court officials working at the courthouse, the police protecting them, this attack was against Turkey, the Turkish nation's unity, its fraternity," Bozdag told the crowd.
Bozdag vowed the attack would never damage Turkey's fight against terror less than a week after a gunman stormed an Istanbul elite nightclub during New Year's celebrations, killing 39 people.
"Turkey will continue to fight in the most effective manner against terrorism until it ends... until the last terrorist," he added in televised comments.
Bozdag later told reporters 18 people had been detained in connection with the blast and the identity of the "terrorists" established, whom he said had planned to wreak havoc inside the court.
According to press reports, police seized two Kalashnikovs, seven rockets and eight grenades suggesting a far more bloody attack was planned.
Bozdag blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for the attack, saying the group "gave instructions" for the attack.
The PKK is a proscribed terror organisation by Ankara, the United States and European Union and has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.