Militants of the Kurdish PKK group have stepped up attacks across Turkey’s east, killing 12 people and injuring hundreds in under 24 hours, according to top officials and state media.
In the biggest attack, a bomb-laden vehicle exploded on Thursday near a police headquarters in Elazig province, leaving three officers dead and 217 people wounded, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said. Another car bomb targeting a police station in Van killed an officer and two civilians, while six soldiers died in neighboring Bitlis province, where the autonomy-seeking PKK targeted a military vehicle with a road-side bomb, state-run media reported.
Turkey’s southeast had witnessed a few weeks of relative calm, during which the government in July thwarted an attempt by sections of the military to seize power.
Yildirim sought to link the series of bombings with the failed coup. In televised remarks, he alleged that the PKK, which has been fighting for self-rule for decades, was collaborating with followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating the botched putsch. He didn’t provide evidence to back up the claim.
“All our units are on alert,” he said. “We have elevated our alert level from now on.”