Car bomb kills eight in Turkey
A car bomb blamed on Kurdish separatists that exploded in Turkey yesterday killed at least eight people and wounding dozens more.
TV footage from Gaziantep, a city near Turkey's southeastern border with Syria, showed a bus and the surrounding area ablaze and smoke billowing into the sky as firemen tried to fight the fire near a police station.
"Unfortunately we lost eight citizens and nearly 60 people are getting treated at several hospitals according to our initial information," Erdal Ata, Gaziantep's governor, told reporters.
The explosion, which officials said was caused by a remote-controlled car bomb, is likely to further strain already tense relations between Turkey and its war-torn neighbour Syria.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but southeastern Turkey is frequently the scene of attacks by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.
However, the PKK today said it was not responsible for the bombing. "Our fighters have nothing to do with this explosion," Firat News, a website close to the PKK, cited the militant group as saying in a statement.
Turkey has accused Syria of supporting the PKK, which launched a separatist insurgency in the region 28 years ago during which more than 40,000 people have been killed.
"The PKK . . . is trying to provoke our citizens by targeting the civilian population directly. Our citizens must remain cool-headed," Omer Celik, deputy chairman of the ruling AK Party, wrote in his Twitter account.
Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan has tried to limit the impact of the conflict in Syria, where the PKK is exerting growing authority in some border areas. Ankara believes PKK militants are receiving arms from Syrian forces.
The attack came just two days after Turkey began handing out food and other humanitarian aid on the border to refugees fleeing the 17-month-old uprising against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.