The death toll from a bombing in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep rose to nine as government officials blamed Kurdish militants and questioned whether Syria may have been involved.
Four children were among those killed in the blast yesterday near a police station, and another 17 people were injured, Huseyin Celik, deputy head of the governing Justice and Development Party, told NTV television.
The attack, on the second day of a three-day religious holiday, came after several days of clashes in the southeast between the army and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK. The group, which is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union, has been fighting for autonomy in largely Kurdish southeast Turkey for three decades and has carried out attacks in urban areas in the past.
Celik said Turkish authorities will also examine the possibility of Syrian involvement in the attack. He said Syrian intelligence has been working with the PKK on the principle that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.”
Turkey has been supporting opposition groups that are fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, allowing them to operate from bases in Turkey. There are also thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Gaziantep province borders Syria.