A car bomb in Turkey that killed 13 soldiers and wounded 55 other soldiers and civilians was planted by the militant Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has claimed.
The explosion came a week after a similar attack killed more than 30 police officers. Television pictures showed the smouldering wreckage of the bus, as the wounded were taken to waiting ambulances.
ERDOGAN SAID THE SEPARATIST TERRORIST ORGANIZATION
In a statement, Erdoğan said the “separatist terrorist organisation” the PKK was responsible for Saturday’s attack, linking it to developments in Iraq and Syria. He said that Turkey was under “joint attack” by terrorist organisations.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said the bomb exploded at an entrance gate to Erciyes University in Kayseri, hitting a public bus that was carrying soldiers on leave and other passengers.
THE TURKISH ARMED FORCES SAID THE CAR BOMB WENT OFF AT 8.45
In a statement, the Turkish armed forces said the car bomb went off at 8.45am and targeted military personnel from the Kayseri Commando Brigade. The wounded were rushed to hospitals in the region. The army said civilians may have also been casualties of the “treacherous attack”.
Associated Press reported Turkish military officials confirming a death toll of at least 13.
The governor of Kayseri, Süleyman Kamçi, said the car bomb exploded beside the bus. “Unfortunately we have martyrs and wounded,” he said in remarks carried by the private Doğan news agency.
THE BLAST IS LEKELY TO FURTHER ANGER THE TURKISH PUBLIC
The blast is likely to further anger the Turkish public after a string of deadly attacks this year, several of which have been claimed by Kurdish militants, including a twin blast last week in Istanbul that killed 44 and wounded more than 150.
Those attacks, which targeted police, were later claimed by an offshoot of the militant Kurdistan Workers party (PKK).
“The car bomb attack resembles the Beşiktaş attack in terms of its style,” Kaynak told reporters, adding that the attack would not deter Turkey from fighting militancy.
Turkey faces multiple security threats, including spillover from the fight against Islamic State in northern Syria, where it is a member of a US-led coalition against the militant group. It also faces regular attacks from Kurdish militants who have been waging a three-decade insurgency for autonomy in largely Kurdish south-east Turkey.
Speaking about the Kayseri explosion, Kaynak said in remarks broadcast on NTV that “treacherous factions” had taken aim at commandos from the Kayseri Airforce Brigade who had been “training exclusively for the safety of our people”.
Turkey’s prime ministerial office imposed a temporary blackout on coverage of the explosion and urged media to refrain from publishing anything that may cause “fear in the public, panic and disorder and which may serve the aims of terrorist organisations”.