Police officer killed, 10 people wounded in bomb in east Turkey; US warns of attack, kidnap risk in Istanbul

DIYARBAKIR (Reuters/AFP) - A police officer was killed and 10 people were wounded when a car bomb exploded near a passing police vehicle in the eastern Turkish province of Bingol on Sunday (Oct 23), security sources said.

The bomb, planted by militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), was detonated near the district governor's office, the security sources said. Six police officers were among the injured, they said.

It comes after the United States warned its citizens of the potential risk of terror attack or attempted kidnapping of foreigners in Istanbul, which has been rocked by several bombings this year.

The consulate in Istanbul said in a message late on Saturday that extremist groups continued their "aggressive efforts" to attack Americans and other foreigners in the city.

"These attacks may be pre-planned or could occur with little or no warning, and include, but are not limited to: armed attack, attempted kidnapping, bombing, or other violent acts," it said in an online notice.

The consulate did not specify which group was believed to be plotting such acts, but in the past year the city has suffered multiple bombings by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Kurdish militants.

Turkey's largely Kurdish south-east has been hit by waves of violence since the collapse of a 2.5-year ceasefire between the state and the PKK last year.

The autonomy-seeking PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and Europe.

More than 40,000 people, most of them Kurds, have died in violence since the PKK first took up arms against the state three decades ago.

Meanwhile, Turkey has arrested more than 35,000 people over alleged links to the group run by the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for the failed July coup, local media reported Sunday.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the suspects had been placed under arrest since the attempted putsch that fell apart within hours, quoted by NTV broadcaster.

Another 3,907 suspects were still being sought while nearly 26,000 people had been released into "judicial control", he said.

Some 82,000 individuals had been investigated in total since the coup bid, he told the audience on Saturday at a ruling Justice and Development Party conference in Afyonkarahisar, western Turkey.

Tens of thousands of people have been suspended, sacked or detained in the military, judiciary, police, education sector and media in connection with the July 15 attempted putsch blamed on Mr Gulen and his Hizmet (Service) movement.

The unprecedented purge has come under heavy criticism from Turkey's Western allies, including the European Union. Brussels has urged Ankara to act within the rule of law, which Turkey insists it is.

Ankara accuses Mr Gulen of masterminding the coup, during which a rogue military faction tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr Gulen - who has lived in self-imposed exile since 1999 in Pennsylvania - strongly denies the charges.