At least eight police officers have been killed and more than 45 people wounded in a bomb attack in the southeastern city of Cizre, state media says. Images from the scene show damage to a riot police headquarters.
Turkey’s state-run media has blamed Kurdish insurgents for a Friday bomb attack that left at least nine police officers dead and more than 45 wounded.
Anadolu news agency says a roadside bomb exploded at a checkpoint about 50 meters from the police station and still inflicted heavy damage to the building. The devastated police station is a Turkish border city that’s been a flashpoint between security force and militia tied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK has been waging a nearly daily string of bombings and shooting attacks targeting security forces since a two-and-a-half year ceasefire collapsed last year. Fighting in and around Cizre has been particularly fierce in recent months.
Friday’s bombing comes a day after suspected PKK gunmen targeted the convoy of opposition Republcian People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the Black ea province of Arrtvin. The politician was unharmed.
Cizre a regular flashpoint
A strict round-the-clock curfew between December and March brought the town to a standstill as security forces waged street battles with PKK militants and their sympathizers that destroyed many buildings.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in May that disturbing reports of civilians being targeted indiscriminately by police and soldiers were cause for concern. Turkey has denied the charges but blocked efforts for an independent probe.
Earlier this month, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim pledged to double down on efforts to fight the PKK in Turkey.
“No terror organization will force this nation to cow in submission,” Yildirim said.
The Cizre bombing comes two days after the Turkish military launched an unprecedented ground offensive in Syria which the authorities say is aimed both at jihadists and Syrian Kurdish militia allied to the PKK.
Kurdish political party condemns PKK attacks
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has regularly condemned violence on both sides. But Turkey’s government accuses the HDP of being tied to the PKK and this month prosecutors indicted at least three of its leaders accusing it of praising the PKK’s jailed leader.
The HDP denies it’s linked to militancy and calls on Anakra to resume negotiations with Kurdish insurgency leaders. But the Turkish government has ruled out returning to the negotiating table with groups it considers to be terrorists.
jar/rg (AFP, Reuters)