An explosion some outlets are attributing to a car bomb has struck the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir, the nation’s largest Kurdish population center. At least fourteen people have been injured, at press time, with no reports of deaths so far.
Hurriyet Daily News reports that eight policemen are among those injured. Reuters is reporting that the explosion “hit a passing police vehicle,” though it remains unclear whether it was directly targeting police.
Update: Hurriyet has updated its death toll to seven, with 27 injured counted so far. Authorities suspect the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Marxist terrorist organization that has been in increasingly violent conflict with the government recently.
— Hürriyet Daily News (@HDNER) March 31, 2016
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) March 31, 2016
— tahtakuşlar (@taylieli) March 31, 2016
— Posta Gazetesi (@Postacomtr) March 31, 2016
Translation: Car bomb in Diyarbakir near a bus station.
— Julian Röpcke (@JulianRoepcke) March 31, 2016
Ambulances have rushed to the station. The ambulances are moving the injured to the Diyarbakir Military Hospital.
In December, two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) met in Diyarbakir, following a declaration by Turkish Kurds demanding self-rule as clashes continued between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish forces. The PKK is a Marxist-Lenin group and designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, and NATO.
“The rightful resistance mounted by our people against the policies that degrade the Kurdish problem, is essentially a demand and struggle for local self-governance and local democracy,” declared the Democratic People’s Congress (DTK) coalition.
The fighting between Turkish forces and Kurdish factions escalated over the summer, when the government joined the coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). The outlawed PKK and its allies claimed Turkey used it as an excuse to target them. Evidence showed Turkish forces bombed areas in northern Iraq, miles away from the designated ISIS targets in Syria.
The fighting ended a two-year truce as both sides continued their 30-year war. The PKK officially ended its ceasefire with Turkey after Erdoğan’s Justice and Development (AKP) Party swept parliamentary elections.
“The unilateral state of inaction has ended due to the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government’s latest attacks,” stated the organization. “After the election, the AKP has demonstrated it is going to be a war government.”
On Christmas Day, Turkish forces killed six Kurdish militants in clashes across the region. The two sides fought in Cizre, which is near the Syrian border, while Turkish soldiers killed three in Diyarbakir.