Car bomb targeting soldiers kills 14 in central Turkey

By bne IntelliNews December 19, 2016

A suicide car bomb destroyed a bus carrying off-duty soldiers, killing 14 and wounded more than 50 in the central Turkish city of Kayseri on December 17.

No group has claimed responsibility, but officials believe the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was behind the attack. The explosion came a week after a huge explosion in Istanbul killed 44 people. The Kurdish Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot of the PKK, said it carried out the Istanbul attack.

At least 15 people have been detained in connection with the Kayseri blast. This was the first major terror incident in Kayseri, a quiet industrial city in Turkey’s heartland, causing outrage and anger across the country. Groups stormed offices of the pro-Kurdish party HDP in Kayseri and some districts in Istanbul following the blast. In the eyes of many people, the HDP is the political arm of the PKK that launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the decades-long conflict. The PKK has intensified its attacks after the collapse of a two-year ceasefire in July 2015.

These attacks will only unite the nation, and the country will grow stronger, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. “These terror attacks are not independent from the developments in Iraq and Syria”, he added.

Turkey launched in August a military operation in northern Syrian to push militants of Islamic State away from its borders and also to stop the advance of the YPG militia there. Ankara sees the YGP as a terrorist organisation because of its link to the PKK.

Turkey, which is struggling to recover from a failed coup attempt in July, has been hit by a number of terror attacks since the beginning of the year, blamed on Islamic State and the PKK.

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