Eight killed in series of attacks in Turkey

Roadside blast in Silopi close to Iraq border kills four police officers and wounds another

Members of the police special forces patrol outside a police station   after a car bomb in Istanbul claimed the lives of  three police officers and injured seven. Photograph: Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters

Members of the police special forces patrol outside a police station after a car bomb in Istanbul claimed the lives of three police officers and injured seven. Photograph: Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters

 

At least eight people, including five police officers and a soldier, were killed on Monday in a series of attacks in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, and in the southeast of the country.

The day of violence included a roadside blast in Silopi, close to the Iraq border, in which four police officers were killed and one badly wounded. The attack took place in the same district that days earlier had witnessed clashes between militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) and Turkish security forces that left three people dead.

A Turkish soldier died in a separate incident after suspected PKK fighters fired on a military helicopter in a nearby province.

The growing unrest – marked by a surge of PKK attacks and government air strikes against the group – threatens to rekindle a conflict that has claimed more than 30,000 lives over the past three decades. It also has the potential to stymie talks to form a coalition government, which have stalled since elections in June.

Car bomb

Hours later an officer died after assailants fired on police dispatched to the site of the bombing. Two gunmen were also reported killed.

Footage broadcast by Turkish media showed police taking cover behind an armed vehicle amid a barrage of bullets.

Earlier in the day, two people opened fire on the building housing the US consulate in Istanbul. No casualties were reported. Police later seized one of the alleged assailants, a 51-year-old woman affiliated to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

The radical left-wing group, which has a history of targeting American interests, attacked the US embassy in Ankara, the Turkish capital, two years ago, killing a security guard.

The attacks are the latest in a spiral of violence that began with a suicide bombing linked to Islamic State (IS) near Turkey’s border with Syria on July 20th in which 33 people died.

The PKK, which alleges that the Turkish state is backing IS in Syria, responded to the July bombing with a spate of attacks of its own. At least 29 members of Turkey’s security forces have died in clashes with the group in the past month.

Turkish air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, meanwhile, have killed 390 militants since late July, according to Turkish media.

PKK detained

Anxious to protect gains made through a fragile peace process between the government and the Kurdish insurgents, Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic party, or HDP, appealed for the PKK to “take its hand off the trigger” last weekend.

That call so far has not been heeded. – (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2015)