- Explosion comes a day after car bomb killed 11 in Istanbul
- Gun battles break out after attack in Midyat, Mardin
A massive explosion blew the front off a five-story police headquarters in eastern Turkey, killing at least five people, a day after a car bomb targeting security personnel left 11 dead people in Istanbul.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim blamed the attack on the Kurdish separatist PKK, without providing evidence. Three civilians and two police officers died in the blast in southeastern town of Midyat, and 51 people were wounded, according to the governor’s office in center of Mardin. The Interior Ministry said an explosives-laden vehicle was used. Gunfire could be heard on television footage as security forces clashed in street battles with armed militants.
Bombings attributed to the PKK, Islamic State and affiliated groups have claimed the lives of more than 240 people in the past year. The intensifying threat is hitting the nation’s $720 billion economy, with foreign tourist arrivals slumping for nine straight months.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the Istanbul blast, which targeted a police bus, killing both police and civilians, and wounding dozens. Officials in Ankara say the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a group linked to the PKK, carried out the attack, according to a report by pro-government columnist Abdulkadir Selvi in Hurriyet newspaper.
The PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast since 1984 and is designated a terrorist group by the U.S., EU and NATO, bombed several police and military targets in Istanbul and Ankara this year. Murat Karayilan, a senior PKK commander, threatened to spread urban warfare across Turkey, the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency said on June 1.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has abandoned the peace process he had initiated and on Tuesday vowed to fight the PKK “until Judgment Day.” He’s also dismissed any dialogue with the Kurdish political movement’s main legal representatives, signing into law a measure this week that allows members of parliament from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party to be tried on terrorism charges.
The lira was little changed after Tuesday’s attack, trading 0.1 percent stronger against the dollar at an exchange rate of 2.8934.