Kurdish rebel group PKK claim deadly attack in eastern Turkey

Turkish rescue workers and police inspecting the site of a car bomb attack on a police station in the eastern Turkish city of Elazig, on Aug 18, 2016.
Turkish rescue workers and police inspecting the site of a car bomb attack on a police station in the eastern Turkish city of Elazig, on Aug 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL (AFP) - The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Friday (Aug 19) claimed a car bomb attack targeting police in eastern Turkey that killed five people and injured over 200.

"Our comrade... carried out a suicide attack on police headquarters in Elazig," the PKK said in a statement, quoted by the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency.

Thursday's bombing in Elazig, a conservative and nationalist bastion, was one of three in less than 24 hours in eastern Turkey, in areas which had been spared much of the violence between the PKK and security forces.

Turkish officials said at least 14 people were killed and about 300 wounded in the attacks, which also hit Van in the far east near the Iranian border on Wednesday and the south-eastern town of Bitlis on Thursday.

The PKK statement claimed that the Elazig bombing alone left 105 police officers dead and 155 wounded.

Thousands of people in Elazig demonstrated on Friday in protest at the attack, according to images broadcast on television.

The Turkish government accused the PKK, which is listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies, of carrying out all three attacks.

 

One Turkish official suggested that the Kurdish rebels were exploiting the situation following the failed July 15 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Violence flared again last year between Kurdish rebels and government forces, shattering a 2013 ceasefire reached after secret talks between PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and the Turkish state.

Over 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK first took up arms in 1984 demanding an independent state for Kurds. Since then the group has narrowed its demands to greater autonomy and cultural rights.