- Three children among the dead, two suspects detained
- Blast destroys police station and neighboring residences
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, detonated a car bomb outside a police station in Turkey’s largest southeastern city, killing six people including three children, and deepening insecurity that has gripped the country.
The blast in Cinar on Wednesday night, just a day after a suicide bombing blamed on Islamic State killed 10 tourists in Istanbul, brought down part of a house next to the police station and ripped off the facade of a police apartment building. A policeman and three children, including a 5-month-old infant, were among the dead, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Thirty-nine others were wounded, the governor’s office in Diyarbakir said in a statement.
The explosion turned the police apartment building into a blackened skeleton and shattered many windows in the town, according to NTV television footage. The militants simultaneously sprayed the paramilitary headquarters with automatic weapons; no injuries were reported. Police detained two suspects in connection with the bombing, Hurriyet newspaper reported.
Wednesday’s attack is the latest amid an eruption of violence in the Kurdish-dominated southeast. The area is in the throes of a spiraling war between the autonomy-seeking PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and European Union, and Turkish forces. Several neighborhoods in towns and cities have been turned into war zones, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and abandon businesses, according to the governor’s office in Diyarbakir.
The lira was little changed as of 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, trading at 3.0262 per dollar, within 2 percent of a record low. The yield on the nation’s two-year debt rose 4 basis points to 11.08 percent and stocks declined 0.8 percent. Investors in the country are "getting more used to" elevated geopolitical risk in the region, Citigroup Inc. strategist Luis Costa said yesterday.
Hundreds of PKK members and dozens of Turkish policemen and soldiers have been reported killed in fighting since July. A three-year lull in the three-decade conflict broke down after a Kurdish party won representation in parliament in June for the first time in Turkey’s history.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have vowed to fight both PKK and Islamic State. Seven suspects have been detained in connection with the suicide attack in Istanbul, AHaber TV cited Interior Minister Efkan Ala as saying.
“We will never allow formation of a de facto structure,” Davutoglu said, referring to the PKK’s goal of establishing an autonomous region in the southeast. “We will never allow armed groups to operate” at will, he added.
The Istanbul suicide bomber, identified as Saudi-born Syrian Nabil Fadli, had been interviewed by immigration officials in Istanbul on Jan. 5, a week before he carried out the attack in Sultanahmet square, one of the city’s main tourist attractions, Hurriyet newspaper reported Thursday, without citing anyone. Fadli convinced authorities he was a Syrian refugee fleeing Islamic State for Europe after most of his relatives were killed, the newspaper said. Police identified his body through fingerprints taken for a biometric identity card in Turkey, it said.