Could someone please explain the use of and よう in the second sentence below from an article about the recent terrorist attack in Turkey?


My best translation (please correct if it is not accurate):

The Turkish police consider the use of the bomb an act of terrorism. They explained that an approximately 12 - 14 year old child detonated the bomb (made the bomb explode) he was holding by himself or someone (else) detonated the bomb by remote control.

My main concern is the use of か pointed out in bold. Could someone please elaborate on this usage. I was under the impression that か cannot be used to link two independent clauses but I am evidently wrong. I translated it as "or" due to the context but it was basically a guess.

I'm also interested in why よう was used in the と clause and how the meaning changes if it is omitted (させたと説明 rather than させたようだと説明).

Finally, less importantly, what is the subject of 使った in this sentence from above 爆弾を使ったテロだ? I'm fairly certain my translation is accurate in meaning but the use of a relative clause in the Japanese confuses me. I would have expected this to be expressed with こと like 爆弾を使うことがテロだ or maybe some noun that expresses a specific incident rather than a general concept.

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    I think 爆弾を使ったテロだ is translated as "This is terrorism of using bombs" and 爆弾を使うことがテロだ is translated as " To use bombs is terrorism". – Yuuichi Tam Aug 26 '16 at 5:30
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    Thank you very much. When you put it that way, I can understand the perspective better. If you really wanted to force it into a relative clause, perhaps it could be, "This is terrorism in which one used bombs." That isn't how that concept would typically be expressed in English but seems to make perfect sense in Japanese. – G-Cam Aug 26 '16 at 16:07

Yes, the か in bold is "(either) ~ or ~". You can safely use this type of か between two clauses. To explicitly say "either A or B", AかBか is the basic pattern, but the second か tends to be omitted under certain situations... I'm afraid I can't fully explain when it's safe to omit the second か, but the second か is omitted at least before ようだ.

  • 生きるか死ぬか、それが問題だ。 To be or not to be, that is the question.
  • 隕石は海に落下したか、空中で燃え尽きたようだ。
    Apparently the meteor either fell to the sea or burnt up in the atmosphere.

And this ようだ in bold just means "appears", "looks like". This ようだ is a part of the quotation (because it's placed before the quotative-と), and implies the Turkish police themselves are not sure how the explosion was triggered.

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