Europe

Turkey car bomb kills two soldiers as PKK truce breaks down

  • 26 July 2015
  • From the section Europe
Map of Lice
Image caption The convoy was attacked in Lice, officials said

A car bomb attack on a military convoy in south-eastern Turkey has killed two soldiers and injured four others, Turkish officials say.

The explosion late on Saturday happened in the town of Lice in Diyarbakir, the province governor's office said.

The attack came after Turkey bombed Kurdish separatist camps in northern Iraq - the first such strikes since a peace process began in 2012.

No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack.

Image caption Unrest like this in Istanbul has intensified since the massacre of 32 people in the Kurdish area of Suruc
Image caption Demonstrators were detained in Ankara on Saturday

The military said militants from the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, also fired at troops in the "treacherously pre-planned'' ambush.

It said a large-scale operation was underway to capture the attackers.

The PKK threatened to break off a two-year ceasefire following Saturday's raids.

There has been a wave of unrest after a suicide bomb in Suruc, blamed on so-called Islamic State (IS) killed 32 people - mainly university students planning to carry out aid work in Kobane, Syria.

It has included protests and confrontations with police in Ankara and Istanbul.

The PKK's military wing killed two Turkish police officers on Wednesday, claiming they had collaborated with IS in the bombing in Suruc.


The week that changed Turkey

Image caption The faces of some of the victims of the bomb blast in Suruc
  • Monday: Thirty-two people volunteering to rebuild Kobane are killed by IS-linked militants in Suruc
  • Thursday: IS forces shoot dead a Turkish border guard
  • Meanwhile, the PKK reportedly kills two Turkish police officers in retaliation for Suruc and what they see as Turkey's collaboration with IS
  • Friday: Hundreds of suspected IS supporters are arrested and properties are searched; Turkish F-16 jets, based in Diyarbakir, bomb three IS targets in Syria
  • Saturday: Turkey strikes IS and PKK targets in Syria and Iraq; the PKK says the conditions are no longer in place to observe ceasefire

Turkey's dangerous game

Who are the Kurds?

Turkish press warning over strikes


The US has called on both sides to avoid violence, but stressed that Turkey has the right to defend itself against attacks by Kurdish rebels.

Brett McGurk, the deputy special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter IS said on Twitter: "We urge de-escalation and that both sides remain committed to the peaceful 'solution process' for a just and sustainable peace."

He added: "There is no connection between these airstrikes against PKK and recent understandings to intensify US-Turkey cooperation against ISIL."

The BBC's Turkey correspondent Mark Lowen reports Kurds say the Turkish government has abstained from stopping IS, seeing the group as a useful tool against its Kurdish enemy, the PKK.

He says sporadic attacks including one on a police station in Istanbul have raised the spectre of a return to conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdish separatists that blighted the country for 30 years and killed 40,000 people.

Istanbul authorities have banned a peace rally scheduled for Sunday to denounce this week's suicide bombing, on the grounds it may be used by outlawed groups for "provocative" acts, AP reports.

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