PKK claims car bomb attack on police in south-east Turkey

Turkish president says war against Kurdish rebels will last "till doomsday."

The bombed-out police station in Midyat, south-east Turkey on June 8, 2016. Agence France-Presse
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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey // Outlawed Kurdish rebels on Thursday claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing at a police station in southeastern Turkey that killed six people including a pregnant policewoman.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) issued the claim after a bloody two days that shattered the start of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Turkey.

A PKK statement said, “A major suicide attack was carried out on the police headquarters of the fascist state forces in Midyat town ... by our comrade.” The statement described the six-storey police station as a place where “all kinds of dirty plans ... and pressure” were applied against “our people and our values”.

The suicide bomber, identified by his guerrilla name “Dirok Amed”, fought in the ranks of the PKK and was from the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakir, according to the group’s statement.

The number of dead from Wednesday’s car bomb attack on the town of Midyat rose to six after a third police officer died. The other two police officers were both women. Strife Ozden Kalmis, 31, was six months pregnant and had worked in the security detail of ex-president Abdullah Gul, who praised her “devoted service” and expressed “immense sadness”. Another victim, Nefize Ozsoy, was mother to a four-month-old daughter.

The prime minister Binali Yildirim said, “The attacks that occurred in the month of Ramadan show the vile terrorist organisation does not recognise any sacred value.”

After decades of violence against the Turkish state, the PKK were chief suspects from the start. Much of the international community, as well as Turkey, regards the PKK as a terrorist organisation. However, no one has claimed responsibility for a car-bomb attack on police bus in Istanbul which killed 11 people in Istanbul on Tuesday. They were being buried when the Midyat bomb went off.

The Turkish agriculture minister, Faruk Celik, announced a ban on selling all fertilisers containing ammonium nitrate, which can be used in explosives and said about, 64,000 tonnes of it had already been removed from sale.

Prime minister Yildirim said the PKK had tried to initiate talks with the government after a year of violence following the breakdown of a fragile 2013 truce. But according to the Dogan news agency, Mr Yildirim was in no mood to listen.

“These days news comes, directly or indirectly, from the terrorist organisation saying ‘we can negotiate, we can lay down arms, we should talk’,” he said. “There’s nothing to discuss.”

The PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding an independent state for Kurds. It has downsized its demands to greater autonomy for Kurds within Turkey and the right to practise their culture. But in the interim, more than 40,000 have been killed.

The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed that the fight against the PKK will continue “until doomsday”.

* Agence France-Presse