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Turkey: After Istanbul Blasts, World Leaders Pledge To Intensify Antiterror Fight

Brussels, 20 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- World leaders condemned today's bombings in Turkey and said the attacks that killed more than two dozen people increase their determination to resist terrorism. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, capturing the general tenor of reactions, put it this way: "There must be no holding back, no compromise, no hesitation in confronting this menace, in attacking it wherever and whenever we can and in defeating it utterly."

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave condolences to the victims and harsh criticism of the attackers: "Those who carried out these attacks have no respect for human life and we should condemn, utterly, their actions."

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said all civilized people will hold the perpetrators in contempt. He added: "Our solidarity is only reinforced by the latest tragic events." The NATO-Russia Council issued a similar statement.

In Cairo, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Majer labeled the attacks in Turkey as not only without justification but also "a big mistake." World leaders are voicing condemnation on the bomb attacks in Istanbul which today killed at least 25 people and wounded hundreds of others.

The European Union's Executive Commission, French President Jacques Chirac, the prime ministers of Italy and Greece, the foreign ministries of Russia, Poland and Israel, Syria's Information Ministry, Iran's Interior Ministry and the Vatican all strongly condemned the bombings.

In London, U.S. President George W. Bush, who was with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, expressed sympathy to Turkey, saying that terrorists have again shown their hatred of freedom.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, speaking in Stockholm, vowed that Turkey will continue to fight terrorism. "Now, we are faced with the organized terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, we lost so many innocent people, but we will continue to fight against terrorism, all the time."

The explosions came after attacks on 15 November at two synagogues in Istanbul, killing 25 people.