Sui­cide bomb­ing tar­gets Turk­ish sol­diers; 13 dead

Amir sends a ca­ble of con­do­lence to Turkey pres­i­dent

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Thir­teen Turk­ish sol­diers were killed and dozens more wounded yes­ter­day in a sui­cide car bomb­ing tar­get­ing off-duty con­scripts blamed on Kur­dish mil­i­tants, the lat­est in a string of at­tacks to rock Turkey in re­cent months. The govern­ment said all signs so far sug­gested the out­lawed Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK) was be­hind the bomb­ing in the city of Kay­seri, a usu­ally calm in­dus­trial hub in Ana­to­lia.

Forty-eight sol­diers were wounded in the at­tack which struck when the sol­diers were be­ing taken from their bar­racks by bus on a week­end shop­ping trip, the army said in a state­ment. In­te­rior Min­is­ter Su­ley­man Soylu said a to­tal of 55 peo­ple were wounded, six se­ri­ously. Tele­vi­sion pic­tures showed the bus re­duced to a smol­der­ing wreck by the blast, which comes a week af­ter 44 peo­ple were killed in a dou­ble bomb­ing in Is­tan­bul af­ter a foot­ball match. That at­tack was claimed by Kur­dish mil­i­tants.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Veysi Kay­nak said in tele­vised com­ments that Kay­seri at­tack was “un­for­tu­nately sim­i­lar” to last week­end’s strikes in Is­tan­bul. “All in­di­ca­tions at present point to the PKK,” Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and govern­ment spokesman Nu­man Kur­tul­mus told NTV tele­vi­sion. “We have to take into ac­count all pos­si­bil­i­ties but the signs at present point to the PKK.” Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim said that the at­tack was car­ried out by a “sui­cide bomber”, with­out giv­ing fur­ther de­tails.

The army said that the bus-car­ry­ing low-rank­ing pri­vates and non-com­mis­sioned of­fi­cers-was at­tacked af­ter leav­ing the com­mando head­quar­ters in the city. Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan said that the “acts of ter­ror” in Turkey were “aim­ing at all 79 mil­lion of our cit­i­zens to­gether with our sol­diers and po­lice.” With­out re­fer­ring specif­i­cally to the Kay­seri at­tack, he said that Turkey was tar­geted by all ter­ror groups but es­pe­cially the out­lawed Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK).

“We will fight de­ci­sively against these ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tions in the spirit of a na­tional mo­bi­liza­tion,” he said. Turkey has seen a spate of deadly bomb­ings in a bloody 2016 blamed both on ji­hadists and Kur­dish mil­i­tants that have left dozens dead and put the coun­try on daily alert. In June, 47 peo­ple were killed in a triple sui­cide bomb­ing and gun at­tack at Is­tan­bul’s Ataturk air­port, with au­thor­i­ties blam­ing the Is­lamic State group.

Another 57 peo­ple in­clud­ing 34 chil­dren were killed in August in a sui­cide at­tack by an IS-linked bomber at a Kur­dish wed­ding in the south­east­ern city of Gaziantep. Kur­dish mil­i­tants have twice struck with bomb­ings that killed dozens in Ankara in Fe­bru­ary and March. The at­tacks have come with the civil war still rag­ing in neigh­bor­ing Syria, where Turkey is stag­ing its own in­cur­sion to ex­pel ji­hadists and Kur­dish mili­tia from the border area. Turkey is also still reel­ing from a failed July 15 coup blamed on the US-based Is­lamic preacher Fethul­lah Gulen that has been fol­lowed by a re­lent­less purge of his al­leged sup­port­ers from all state in­sti­tu­tions.

One of the main cities of cen­tral Turkey, Kay­seri is a key in­dus­trial hub with a pop­u­la­tion of over one mil­lion and usu­ally seen as a peace­ful area. The city lies close to the fa­mous land­scapes of Cap­pado­cia, a mag­net for tourists around the world. It is well west of the southeast of the coun­try that has been hit by months of deadly fight­ing be­tween the PKK and the se­cu­rity forces. Fol­low­ing the bomb­ing, dozens of pro­test­ers stormed the of­fices of the pro-Kur­dish Peo­ples’ Demo­cratic Party (HDP) in Kay­seri, drap­ing a Turk­ish na­tion­al­ist flag from the top floor, footage posted on so­cial me­dia showed.

The govern­ment slapped a tem­po­rary broad­cast ban on footage of the at­tack, as is be­com­ing typ­i­cal in the af­ter­math of ma­jor in­ci­dents in the coun­try. The Turk­ish mil­i­tary has stepped up op­er­a­tions against the PKK af­ter a frag­ile cease­fire broke down in the sum­mer of 2015. Since then, there has been a dra­matic surge in vi­o­lence that shows no sign of end­ing. Last week’s dou­ble bomb­ing in Is­tan­bul, which tar­geted po­lice af­ter a match of the Be­sik­tas foot­ball club, was claimed by the Kur­dis­tan Free­dom Fal­cons (TAK) seen as a rad­i­cal off­shoot of the PKK.

Mean­while, His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAh­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yes­ter­day sent a ca­ble of con­do­lence to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan over the vic­tims of the car bomb­ing that hit Turkey’s cen­tral prov­ince of Kay­seri ear­lier yes­ter­day and left dozens of peo­ple dead or wounded. In the ca­ble, His High­ness the Amir con­demned the blast as a ter­ror­ist act that tar­geted in­no­cents and breached all re­li­gions and hu­man and eth­i­cal val­ues. His High­ness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His High­ness the Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Ha­mad Al-Sabah sent the Turk­ish pres­i­dent ca­bles of sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments.

— AP

KAY­SERI: A pub­lic bus is seen burn­ing at the scene of a car bomb at­tack in cen­tral Ana­to­lian city of Kay­seri, Turkey yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.