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Policeman killed amid growing violence in Turkey

July 23, 2015

A Turkish police officer has been shot dead and a second wounded in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. The attack follows a major bombing that has since been linked with the "Islamic State" militant group.

Diyarbakir, Turkey
Image: picture alliance/AA/K, Bozdogan

The shooting on Thursday was the latest in series of assaults which began with a suicide bombing in Suruc on Monday. Thirty-two people died and more than 100 were wounded in the attack. Authorities identified a 20-year-old Turk who had links to "Islamic State" (IS) as a suspect in the bombing, after his identity card was reportedly found at the site.

Two days later, the militant wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the deaths of two policemen in Ceylanpinar, close to the Syrian border.

The People's Defence Forces (HPG) said shortly after that the policemen's murders were a "punishment action" against the two officers, who they claim helped the "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group in carrying out Monday's suicide attack.

Both police, Feyyaz Ozsahra and Okan Acarwere, were members of Turkey's anti-terrorism and riot police.

In light of Monday's bombing, Turkey has stepped up security on the Syrian border, something the US and other NATO allies have long urged Ankara to do.

The sudden increase in violence this week has put the country's government under greater scrutiny than ever. Critics claim that Turkey underestimated that the struggle between Syria's version of the PKK, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), and IS could spill over into Turkey.

Turkish terrorism experts are warning of further attacks within the country as the fear of IS cells grows.

ksb/rc (reuters, dpa)