A car bomb attack on a bus carrying off-duty military personnel killed 13 soldiers and wounded 55 in the central Turkish city of Kayseri on Saturday, an incident President Tayyip Erdogan blamed on Kurdish militants.
The blast, a week after deadly twin bombing targeted police in Istanbul, is likely to further outrage a public angered by a series of attacks this year - several claimed by Kurdish militants, others by ISIS - and a failed coup in July.
It is also likely to increase tension in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, where militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have waged a three-decade violent insurgency that has seen some of its worst fighting in the last year.
“The style and goals of the attacks clearly show the aim of the separatist terrorist organization is to trip up Turkey, cut its strength and have it focus its energy and forces elsewhere,” Erdogan said in a statement.
“We know that these attacks we are being subjected to are not independent from the developments in our region, especially in Iraq and Syria.”
This picture obtained from the Ihlas News Agency shows injured people waiting for an ambulance following an explosion on December 17, 2016 in Kayseri, central Turkey.AFP
Wreaths, placed by representatives of foreign missions, are pictured at the scene of Saturday's blasts in Istanbul, Turkey, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal