Monday 23 October 2017

Kurdish militants kill two Turkish police 'in revenge'

Mourners hold posters of people who were killed during a suicide bomb attack as they attend the funeral of victim Ece Dinc in Istanbul.
Mourners hold posters of people who were killed during a suicide bomb attack as they attend the funeral of victim Ece Dinc in Istanbul.

Orhan Coskun in Ankara

Kurdish militants claimed responsibillity for the assassination yesterday of two Turkish police officers in what they said was retaliation for a suspected Isil suicide bombing which killed 32, mostly young students.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said in a statement on one of its websites that the two police officers were killed at around 6am in the south-eastern town of Ceylanpinar for "collaboration with the Daesh (Isil) gangs".

Security sources earlier said the officers were found dead with bullet wounds to the head in the house they shared in Ceylanpinar, on the border with Syria some 160km east of Suruc, the site of Monday's suicide bombing.

Many of Turkey's Kurds and opposition supporters suspect president Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AKP of covertly backing Isil against Kurdish fighters in Syria, something the government has repeatedly denied.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu rejected accusations that Turkey had tacitly supported Isil and had unwittingly opened the door to the bombing, but he said initial evidence suggested the Islamist radical group was responsible.

A senior Turkish official said there was "strong evidence" to suggest the bomber was a 20-year-old man born in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman and of Kurdish origin, who had travelled to Syria last year with the help of a group linked to Isil.


However, two lawmakers from the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), whose support base is mostly Kurdish, submitted separate parliamentary motions yesterday naming a 20-year-old woman as a suspect, and asking why police had released her from custody last month.

Anti-government protests after Monday's bombing in Suruc erupted in several cities for a second night on Tuesday, with some of the demonstrators chanting "Murderer Islamic State, collaborator Erdogan and AKP".

"Although Islamic State (Isil) has been held responsible for this attack, Turkey's AKP government, by resisting the taking of effective measures to prevent Islamic State and other reactionary forces, bears the real responsibility," the HDP said.

Turkey's Nato allies have expressed concern about control of its border with Syria, which in parts runs directly parallel with territory controlled by Isil. The prospect of conflict spilling on to Turkish soil, embroiling Kurds, Islamist militants and security forces will raise alarm inside and outside Turkey.

Meanwhile, access to Twitter was blocked for several hours after a court in Suruc ordered the removal of images of Monday's blast and its aftermath.

Facebook and YouTube avoided a ban after quickly complying with the court order, according to a statement from the Turkish union of internet access providers.

Irish Independent

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