Turkey blames PKK for fatal truck bomb at police checkpoint

A suicide truck bombing at police headquarters in Cizre killed at least 11 people. The attack comes on the heels of Turkey's incursion against ISIS and Kurdish fighters in Syria. 

DHA via AP
Smoke still rises from the scene after Kurdish militants attacked a police checkpoint in Cizre, southeast Turkey, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, with an explosives-laden truck, killing several police officers and wounding dozens more, according to reports from the state-run Anadolu news agency.

A suicide truck bombing at a police headquarters in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast killed at least 11 and wounded dozens on Friday, two days after Turkey launched an incursion against Islamic State and Kurdish militia fighters in Syria.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said there was no doubt that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy, was responsible for the attack in Sirnak province, which borders Syria and Iraq.

The provincial governor's office said 11 police officers were killed and 78 people, three of them civilians, wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The bombing in the town of Cizre was the latest in a series of attacks since a ceasefire with the PKK collapsed more than a year ago, and comes as Turkey tries to recover from a failed July 15 military coup.

More than 1,700 military personnel have been removed for their alleged role in the putsch, including some 40 percent of admirals and generals, raising concern about the NATO member's ability to protect itself as it battles Islamic State in Syria and Kurdish militants at home.

At a news conference in Istanbul, Yildirim said Turkey had opened a war on all terrorist groups. His deputy, Numan Kurtulmus, said on Twitter that Islamic State, the PKK and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia were all attacking Turkey to take advantage of last month's coup attempt.

"Turkey is in an intense fight against terrorist organizations ... The PKK/YPG and Islamic State seized the July 15 coup attempt as an opportunity," Kurtulmus wrote.

Large plumes of smoke billowed from the blast site in Cizre, footage on CNN Turk showed. The broadcaster said a dozen ambulances and two helicopters had been sent to the scene.

Photographs broadcast by private channel NTV showed a large three-story building reduced to its concrete shell, with no walls or windows, and surrounded by grey rubble.

Syria Incursion

Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes launched their first major incursion into Syria on Wednesday in support of Syrian rebels, in an operation President Tayyip Erdogan has said is aimed both at driving Islamic State away from the border area and preventing territorial gains by the YPG.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died since the rebels took up arms in Turkey in 1984.

Turkish troops fired on U.S.-backed YPG fighters in northern Syria on Thursday – a confrontation that highlights the cross-cutting of interests of two pivotal NATO allies.

"For much of the Syrian civil war the United States has been walking one particularly fine line," The Christian Science Monitor's Howard LaFranchi reported on Wednesday:

For the US, Turkey is a problematic but crucial NATO ally and a bridge between Europe and the East. The Syrian Kurds, meanwhile, have proved to be the only effective fighting force inside Syria against the so-called Islamic State – but Turkey fears them.

This week the US had to choose, and the decision wasn’t even close.

Like a suitor letting one side down gently, the US in effect told the Syrian Kurds, we do love you, but we love and need Turkey much more.

Vice President Joe Biden was hastily dispatched to Turkey on Wednesday to reassure Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the US’s undivided support. That includes support for Turkey’s first-ever incursion into Syrian territory this week. ...

In a further show of support for Turkey, Mr. Biden warned the Syrian Kurds in no uncertain terms that the US would not tolerate any effort to turn Kurdish advances against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, into an autonomous Kurdish entity along the Syrian-Turkish border.

Also on Thursday, Interior Minister Efkan Ala accused the PKK of attacking a convoy carrying the country's main opposition party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

The government has blamed the PKK for a series of attacks this month in the southeast. The group has claimed responsibility for at least one attack on a police station.

Last week Erdogan accused followers of a U.S.-based Islamic cleric he blames for the July 15 coup attempt of being complicit in attacks by Kurdish militants.

The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, has denied any involvement in and denounced the coup plot.

Additional reporting by Akin Aytekin and Ayla Jean Yackley; Writing by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Edmund Blair, Ralph Boulton

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Turkey blames PKK for fatal truck bomb at police checkpoint
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2016/0826/Turkey-blames-PKK-for-fatal-truck-bomb-at-police-checkpoint
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe