2 police officers killed in car bomb attack in southeastern Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey – Kurdish rebels on Friday detonated a car bomb near a police station in southeastern Turkey, killing two police officers and wounding some 35 people, officials said.
The attack targeted the traffic police station and lodgings in the town of Nusaybin, bordering Syria, where the security forces are battling militants linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
A fragile two-year-old peace process between Turkey’s government and the PKK collapsed in July, reviving a three-decades-old conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people. Hundreds – many of them police and soldiers – have died in the renewed fighting.
The governor’s office for Mardin province, where Nusaybin is located, said the explosion wounded 35 people, most of them police or police family members. Four of them were being operated on, although their injuries were not life-threatening condition.
The explosion caused extensive damage to the police lodgings and left a large crater in the road, images published by the private Dogan news agency showed.
The PKK, considered a terror organization by Turkey and its allies, is fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish southeast.
The attack in Nusaybin comes amid a surge of violence in Turkey.
Last month, a suicide car bombing that targeted buses carrying military personnel in the capital, Ankara, killed 29 people. A Kurdish militant group that is an offshoot of the PKK claimed responsibility for that attack.
On Thursday, police in Istanbul killed two women militants of the banned far-left group, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front, or DHKP-C, who had hidden inside a building after attacking police with gunfire and a hand grenade.
Some 145 people have died since July in three separate suicide bomb attacks that authorities have blamed on the Islamic State group, including 12 German tourists who were killed in Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district on Jan. 12.
In a related development Friday, Turkey’s Justice Ministry submitted a formal request for parliament to lift the legal immunity of the two co-chairmen of the country’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, and three other legislators, so that they could be prosecuted for alleged links to the rebels, Anadolu reported.
The move follows accusations by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the HDP is the political wing of the PKK and his calls for parliament to remove their immunity, which shields legislators from prosecution.
Prosecutors are accusing HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, and three other lawmakers of sedition and membership in an armed terror group for voicing support for a declaration that called for self-rule for Kurds, which was issued at a congress by Kurdish groups in December.
© 2016 The Canadian Press