A string of bombings, blamed on Kurdish rebels and targeting Turkey’s security forces, killed at least 14 people and wounded more than 220 others, officials said today.
Two of the attacks were car bombings that hit police stations in eastern Turkey, while a third a roadside blast targeted a military vehicle carrying soldiers in the southeast of the country.
Authorities say the assaults were carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has launched a campaign of car bombings targeting police stations or roadside bomb attacks against security force vehicles. Last week, PKK commander Cemil Bayik threatened increased attacks against police in Turkish cities.
The wave of attacks come as Turkey is focused on a clampdown on suspected followers of a movement led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, which the government accuses of orchestrating a failed military coup last month, that killed at least 270 people.
The first car bombing hit a police station in the eastern province of Van late yesterday, killing a police officer and two civilians. At least 73 other people including 53 civilians and 20 police officers were wounded, officials said.
Another car bombing hit police headquarters in the eastern Turkish city of Elazig early today, killing at least five people, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. Officials said earlier 146 people were wounded and 14 of them were in serious condition.
Video footage showed a large plume of smoke rising from the area. Cars were overturned and the windows of the four-story building and its wings were blown out.
In the southeastern province of Bitlis meanwhile, five soldiers were killed after rebels detonated a roadside improvised explosive device as an armored military vehicle was passing by, officials said. Five other soldiers were wounded in the attack.
A government-paid village guard, helping the security forces battle the PKK was also killed in a clash with rebels in the province, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim traveled to Elazig to visit the site of the bombing as well as those wounded in the attack.
He told reporters there that both the PKK and the Gulen movement were directed by the same "intelligence" intent on causing Turkey harm, without elaborating.
"The (Gulen movement) has lost its assertiveness and has handed over the duty to the (PKK)," Yildirim said. "The intelligence that directs them is the same. When one’s duty ends, the other takes up the duty."
Yildirim vowed to fight the PKK until it is "eliminated."
Speaking in Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey was jointly attacked by various organizations who he said were in close contact with each other and were "acting under the same motivations even if they have different names."