Con­fu­sion over deadly Turkey bomb­ing claims

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Con­fu­sion reigned yes­ter­day over who car­ried out an at­tack in Turkey that left 11 dead, with one source claim­ing it was the Is­lamic State but au­thor­i­ties in­sist­ing Kur­dish mil­i­tants were to blame. Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim had said Fri­day’s bomb­ing near po­lice head­quar­ters in Di­yark­abir was car­ried out by the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK), which has reg­u­larly tar­geted se­cu­rity forces since end­ing a truce in 2015.

But the US-based SITE In­tel­li­gence Group cited an “in­sider source” for the IS-af­fil­i­ated Amaq news agency as say­ing “fight­ers from the Is­lamic State det­o­nated an ex­plo­sives-laden ve­hi­cle parked in front of a Turk­ish po­lice head­quar­ters in Diyarbakir in south­east­ern Turkey.” The lo­cal gov­er­norate in Diyarbakir yes­ter­day then is­sued a new state­ment in­sist­ing the bomb­ing was car­ried out by the PKK, say­ing this con­clu­sion was based on in­ter­cepted ra­dio con­ver­sa­tions. It said that the three tons of ex­plo­sives used in the bomb­ing were ac­ti­vated by a PKK op­er­a­tive with the co­de­name “Ke­mal”.

“This in­for­ma­tion clearly shows that the at­tack was car­ried out by the sep­a­ratist ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tion,” it said, us­ing the cus­tom­ary of­fi­cial phrase for the PKK. The early morn­ing at­tack on a po­lice head­quar­ters in the Kur­dish-ma­jor­ity of Diyarbakir ini­tially left nine peo­ple dead, in­clud­ing two po­lice of­fi­cers, and over 100 wounded. The state-run Anadolu news agency said the toll rose to 11 yes­ter­day af­ter two more civil­ian vic­tims suc­cumbed to their wounds.

The ex­plo­sion left a swathe of dev­as­ta­tion, blow­ing out the en­tire front of a nearby apart­ment block and leav­ing the sur­round­ings cov­ered in rub­ble. Emer­gency work­ers yes­ter­day sifted through the dam­age while res­i­dents ar­rived to re­cu­per­ate what­ever be­long­ings they could sal­vage, an AFP pho­tog­ra­pher said. The proKur­dish Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party (HDP) said six of its MPs, in­clud­ing its co-lead­ers, had nar­rowly es­caped in­jury in the at­tack as they were be­ing held in the po­lice com­plex fol­low­ing their de­ten­tion overnight.

If con­firmed, the Is­lamist State claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity would be its first for an at­tack in Turkey, al­though the ji­hadist group has been blamed over the last year for a se­ries of strikes against Kur­dish ac­tivists, tourists and on Is­tan­bul air­port. There has so far been no de­nial or claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity from the PKK.

IS call for at­tacks

In an au­dio mes­sage re­leased ear­lier this week, reclu­sive IS leader Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi broke a nearly year-long si­lence to call for at­tacks against Turkey, as well as Saudi Ara­bia, and for his fight­ers to hold their ground in their strong­hold of Mo­sul, Iraq. Ankara has troops sta­tioned at a base just out­side Mo­sul and Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s es­ca­lat­ing rhetoric has raised fears of an ex­panded Turk­ish mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion in Iraq. Yildirim said the PKK had again showed its “ugly face” with the at­tack. The HDP mean­while said its co-lead­ers Se­la­hat­tin Demir­tas and Fi­gen Yuk­sekdag as well as four other MPs had been brought to the po­lice com­plex overnight af­ter their de­ten­tion early Fri­day. It said in a state­ment Demir­tas had been taken to court just be­fore the at­tack and Yuk­sekdag was in the com­plex when it hap­pened. With­out di­rectly say­ing its MPs were the tar­get, it noted that the minibus packed with ex­plo­sives had blown up early fol­low­ing an alert from a taxi driver. —AFP

DIYARBAKIR: Peo­ple col­lect their be­long­ings in a de­stroyed build­ing a day af­ter a strong blast in the south­east­ern Turk­ish city. — AFP

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