Car bomb kills 18 at military checkpoint
EIGHTEEN people were killed when a van packed with five tonnes of explosives blew up in Turkey’s restive southeast – an attack blamed on Kurdish militants.
The bombing, which killed 10 soldiers and eight civilians, was one of the deadliest attacks on Turkish security forces since the attempted coup of July 15 when a rogue military faction tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The attack was perpetrated by a suicide bomber who detonated a van [packed] with 5 tonnes of explosives,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told a news conference in Istanbul.
The attack, late on October 9, targetted a security post in Hakkari province as security forces were searching vehicles in Semdinli, the official news agency Anadolu said.
The Hakkari governor said a vehicle refused to stop as it approached a checkpoint, prompting soldiers to respond with gunfire.
Militants then also started shooting, the governor’s office said, quoted by Dogan news agency.
Another 27 people were injured in the blast caused by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Mr Erdogan said. Anadolu reported at least 16 of those were civilians.
Soon after the attack, which Anadolu said left a 7-metre (22-foot) deep hole in the road, the military confirmed it had begun a large-scale air operation which the governor’s office said was launched to “neutralise” PKK militants.
The governor said commando units on the ground were continuing to search for PKK fighters.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus described the incident as an “atrocious” and “heinous terrorist attack”, vowing on Twitter that Turkey would never surrender to militant groups.
The White House said it condemned “in the strongest terms the deadly terrorist attack today against a military checkpoint in southeastern Turkey that left many dead, including civilians, and scores more wounded”.
“We remain steadfast in our support for our NATO ally, Turkey, and reaffirm our commitment to continue working together to defeat all forms of terrorism,” Ned Price, the White House National Security Council spokesperson, said in Washington yesterday.
Over the past two months, the military says it has killed a total of 387 PKK militants in Hakkari province, CNN-Turk reported.
The PKK has waged a 32-year insurgency against the Turkish state, which has left nearly 40,000 dead since 1984. The group is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. –
Forensic officers attend the scene of a suicide bombing in Haymana, in the outskirts of the capital Ankara, on October 8.