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Car bomb targets police in Turkey's Diyarbakir

A deadly blast has rocked the southeastern Turkish city. Kurdish rebels have been regularly attacking police and military targets since a peace process with Ankara collapsed last year.

The bombing took place in the Baglar district of the Kurdish-majority city, Diyarbakir, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency. The target of the attack was a police unit in the center of the city. At least three people were killed and 23 injured in the attack, security officials said.

The Anatolia news agency called the Tuesday bombing a "terrorist attack."

Diyarbakir has come under

increased attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)

for several months, as the Turkish military has intensified its operations against the group inside the country and in neighboring Iraq and Syria. A fragile peace process between Ankara and rebels collapsed in July.

Earlier on Tuesday, two police officers were killed while trying to defuse a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Van. Turkish authorities blamed the PKK for the deaths.

A decades-long Kurdish insurgency in Turkey has claimed over 40,000 lives. The PKK demands greater autonomy for the country's Kurdish population.

Erdogan defends terror laws

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes his country's

controversial anti-terrorism laws

are necessary to defeat militants belonging to the PKK and "Islamic State" (IS), a militant group active in Syria and Iraq.

But the laws have been sharply criticized by rights activists, who say the government is using them to target political opponents.

The European Union said Tuesday it will not grant Turkish citizens visa-free access to European countries until Ankara amends its terror laws.

In a speech in Ankara on Tuesday, Erdogan lashed out at the EU, alleging that Europe provided safe havens to political wings of terrorist groups. He once again said his government would not "take instructions from Europe" on this issue.

shs/kms (AP, AFP, dpa)

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