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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 November, 2003, 12:52 GMT
Prayers said for Istanbul victims
Widow of Roger Short, the British consul general, with their children at the service
The widow of British Consul General Roger Short was at Sunday's service
A church service has been held in Istanbul for the victims of Thursday's bomb blasts that killed 28 people.

The widow of Roger Short, the British Consul General, was present with her three children.

Tight security surrounded the venue, Christ Church, close to where a truck bomb exploded at the consulate.

The service came as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was not "100%" sure al-Qaeda was behind the attacks, as has been claimed.

Reverend Ian Sherwood, leading the prayers, told the British community that although "crushed" they had to move forward.

There is a mood of determination to carry on with life
Andrew Boord
British businessman in Istanbul

He also called for more people in the Islamic community to stand up and say "enough is enough" to the violence.

"This week we have seen the innocent crucified again," he said.

"We have seen evil attempting to overthrow goodness, the glorious thing is we gather here together strongly to commemorate them."

After the service British Ambassador Peter Westmacott said: "Everyone is in shock but what's happening is a sense of the community coming together after a horrendous week.

"There is a sense this was British and Turkish people who suffered together."

A full memorial service for the blast victims is due to be held in a few weeks time.

Death toll

The attackers, who left more than 400 injured, also struck the local headquarters of the London-based HSBC bank.

A woman caught in that blast died from her injuries on Saturday, taking the death toll to 28.

More than one claim of responsibility in Turkey has named al-Qeada, but Turkey's prime minister told BBC One's Breakfast with Frost: "Regarding al-Qaeda, there are not definitive results at this point yet."

If we had these doubts in mind we should never leave home, but the world revolves and life goes on
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish prime minister

He said they had "some evidence of religious motives" but, pressed on whether al-Qaeda could be blamed, Mr Erdogan - speaking through a translator - replied: "We are not 100% sure."

The Turkish prime minister also took the opportunity to urge British tourists and business people to continue visiting the country.

"The UK can send their citizens to Turkey very confidently at this point," he said.

"We prioritise their lives as much as we prioritise our own lives and we will pay the necessary attention and show the sensitivity to their lives because they are our visitors."

Hulya Donmez

However, the UK Foreign Office said it stood by its advice issued after Thursday's attacks for Britons to avoid all but the most essential travel to Istanbul and other major cities "until the situation becomes clearer".

Meanwhile doctors in Istanbul have said it is unlikely the fiancee of a Briton caught up in the attack will recover.

There had been conflicting reports about the condition of Hulya Donmez, 27, but after briefly regaining consciousness while in hospital it has emerged doctors now believe she is brain dead.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond
"There is shock and shame that the bombers were Turkish"

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