Turkey blames Kurdish militants for Istanbul attack

The car bomb on Tuesday ripped through a police bus during the morning rush hour in Istanbul, killing six police officers and five civilians. (Reuters)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office blamed Kurdish militants for a car bombing that killed 11 people in central Istanbul, while a second bomb on Wednesday killed five people in the largely Kurdish southeast.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, meanwhile, said that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), blamed for Tuesday’s attack in Istanbul, had recently sought to revive peace talks and offered to lay down their arms.

A ceasefire with the PKK collapsed almost a year ago, setting off the worst violence the country has seen in two decades. Yildirim, in comments broadcast live by TRT television, said Turkey would not negotiate to end the violence.

The car bomb on Tuesday ripped through a police bus during the morning rush hour in Istanbul, killing six police officers and five civilians near the main tourist district, a major university and the mayor’s office.

On Wednesday the bomb targeted a police station in the southeastern town of Midyat, killing three civilians and two police officers and wounding more than 30 others. The province borders Syria in a region where Kurdish militants have waged a three-decade insurgency.

“All indicators and signs regarding the attack in Istanbul yesterday point to the separatist terror organization,” Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told a news conference, referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

“The Midyat attack is very fresh and we can only make an assessment once we have all the information,” Kalin said.

There has been no claim of responsibility from Kurdish militants. They have carried out similar attacks in Turkey’s major cities in the recent past as violence has spiraled since the ceasefire with the PKK collapsed almost a year ago.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51
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