Three Turkish police killed in suspected PKK car bomb, gun attack

DIYARBAKIR: Three military police were killed and 22 injured in a car bombing on a barracks in Turkey’s restive southeast suspected to be the work of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), security sources said today.

The attack that took place on Thursday evening in Mermer in Diyarbakir province, one of the areas in the mainly Kurdish southeast where security forces have engaged an offensive against the PKK since the collapse of a two-year ceasefire in July.

The attackers first detonated a van crammed with explosives outside the barracks and then opened fire on the police with automatic weapons, the sources said.

Hundreds of security forces members, rebels and civilians have been killed since the PKK resumed its more than three-decade-long insurgency in pursuit of greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority last summer.

The military has responded with a barrage of airstrikes against PKK bases and by placing several Kurdish-majority towns under curfew during operations against PKK youth that have reduced whole districts to rubble.

In recent weeks the battle has spread beyond the southeast to western Turkey.

A PKK offshoot, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings in Ankara over the past five weeks that killed 65 people in all and injured dozens of others.

Over 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding a homeland for Turkey’s biggest minority. Since then the group has pared back its demands to focus on cultural rights and a measure of autonomy.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he sees no difference between the “terrorist” PKK and the Islamic State jihadists who have been blamed for four suicide attacks around the country in the past eight months, including an attack in Istanbul last weekend that killed four foreigners.