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PKK blamed for bomb attack in Cizre

August 26, 2016

At least 11 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.

Türkei Anschlag in Cizre
Image: Getty Images/AFP/Dogan News Agency

Turkey's state-run media has blamed Kurdish insurgents for a Friday suicide bomb attack that left at least 11 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 tore off the facade of the four-storey building. The devastated police station is in 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 carrying out a string of nearly daily 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 Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the Black Sea province of Artvin. 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 fought street battles with PKK militants and their sympathizers, in the course of which many buildings were destroyed.

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.

Türkei Anschlag in Cizre
Smoke rises from buildings at the site of a car bomb explosion at a police headquarters in Cizre, located in Turkey's Sirnak province, which borders on both Syria and Iraq. August 26, 2016.Image: Reuters

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 the party of praising the PKK's jailed leader.

The HDP denies it is linked to militancy and calls on Ankara 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)