Turkey car bomb; Two police officers killed


Ankara: Two police officers were killed in a car bomb attack on Wednesday in Turkey`s mainly Kurdish southeast, a day after 11 people were killed in an attack on a police bus in Istanbul.

The car bomb ripped through the main police station in the town of Midyat near the Syrian border, said state-run Anatolia news agency, which blamed “terrorists” in a reference to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK).

The explosion left two police officers dead and several other people wounded, the privately owned Dogan news agency said.

Images carried by Turkish media showed a massive plume of black smoke rising from the rubble of the severely damaged police station.

The windows of houses in the neighbourhood were shattered by the force of the blast.

Ambulances and fire engines were dispatched to the scene after the powerful explosion.

The attack comes a day after a bombing in the heart of Istanbul killed 11 people including several police officers.

Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin on Tuesday said seven police officers were among those killed in the attack, but Turkish media on Wednesday put the toll at six officers and five civilians.

There was no claim of responsibility for the Istanbul bombing but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that Kurdish militants were behind it.Turkey remains on high security alert after multiple attacks on its soil in recent months blamed on Kurdish militants and Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

A radical splinter group of the PKK, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), claimed responsibility for two bombings in Ankara earlier this year that killed dozens of people.

Violence flared last year between Kurdish rebels and government forces, shattering a 2013 ceasefire reached after secret talks between PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and the Turkish state.

Turkey has waged an intense offensive against the PKK listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies, with so-called “clean-up” operations in several towns in the southeast.

Activists have accused the security forces of causing huge destruction to urban centres and killing civilians. But the government says the operations are essential for public safety, blaming the PKK for the damage.

Over 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding an independent state for Kurds. Since then the group has narrowed its demands to greater autonomy and cultural rights.

NATO-member Turkey is also a member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group which controls large swathes of territory in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

Ankara blames the jihadists for two suicide blasts that hit Istanbul this year.