World Middle East 04 Nov 2016 8 people killed, 100 ...

8 people killed, 100 injured in car bombing in Turkey's Diyarbakir: PM

AFP | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Nov 4, 2016, 11:17 am IST
Updated Nov 4, 2016, 3:16 pm IST
The blast was carried out by members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party.
The blast occurred just hours after police detained the two co-leaders of the country's main pro-Kurdish party and several other MPs in a major escalation of a broader crackdown against the minority group. (Photo: Representational Image)
 The blast occurred just hours after police detained the two co-leaders of the country's main pro-Kurdish party and several other MPs in a major escalation of a broader crackdown against the minority group. (Photo: Representational Image)

Diyarbakir: Eight people were killed, including two police, and over 100 wounded in a car bombing by Kurdish militants in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday, updating an earlier toll.

The blast, which Yildirim said was carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), targeted a police headquarters hours after top Kurdish politicians were detained in an unprecedented police crackdown.

Two local residents said they had seen a minibus explode outside the police building in the Baglar district.

The explosion occurred just hours after police detained the two co-leaders of the country's main pro-Kurdish party and several other MPs in a major escalation of a broader crackdown against leading Kurds.

The explosion could be heard several kilometres (miles) away and a thick column of white smoke was seen rising from the scene of the blast.

Earlier on Friday, police detained Selahattin Demirtas of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) at his home in Diyarbakir while his co-chairperson Figen Yuksekdag was held in Ankara as part of a terror investigation, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Their detention appeared part of a large-scale operation against the HDP, which is the third largest party in the Turkish parliament with 59 seats and the main political representative of the Kurdish minority.

NTV television said the pair were accused of spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) while Anadolu said Demirtas was accused of provoking violence in deadly protests in October 2014.

The raids come as Turkey remains under a state of emergency imposed in the wake of the July 15 failed coup, which critics say has gone well beyond targeting the actual coup plotters.

Thirteen staff from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper, including the editor-in-chief, were detained on Monday, further heightening strains in Turkish society.

Tensions have surged in the Kurdish-dominated southeast since a fragile ceasefire declared by the PKK collapsed in 2015.

It has since stepped up its insurgency against the Turkish security forces, staging regular attacks that have claimed hundreds of lives among the military and the police.

The HDP seeks to promote the cause of Turkey's Kurdish minority and defend the rights of Kurds as well as those of women, gays and workers.

But the authorities accuse the party of being a front for the PKK and failing to distance itself from terror, claims it has always vehemently denied.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched repeated personal attacks on Demirtas, who analysts have seen as the sole politician in Turkey who comes anywhere near to rivalling his charisma.

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