Blast hits Turkish gendarmerie post in southeast
Bomb-laden vehicle detonated outside station in Hakkari province, 10 soldiers martyred, PKK blamed
An explosives-laden vehicle was detonated Sunday outside a gendarmerie station in southeast Turkey, killing 18 people.
Following the attack at around 9.45 a.m. local time (0645GMT) in Semdinli, Hakkari province, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said eight civilians died and 10 soldiers were martyred.
“A pick-up made a suicide rush with five tons of explosives in it,” he said at a news conference in Istanbul.
In a statement, the Turkish General Staff blamed the attack on the PKK terrorist organization. Hakkari province, which borders Iraq and Iran, has seen a large number of PKK attacks since the group resumed its armed campaign in July last year.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a statement that condemned the deadly terror attack.
“Our state with all its institutions and its nation are committed to incapacitate the separatist terrorist organization’s action,” said Erdogan.
“We are committed to take any political, diplomatic, military measures for the survival of our state and our nation both domestically and abroad,” he added.
The military said 16 gendarmes were wounded. The number of civilians injured was unclear but a group of people waiting at a nearby bus stop are thought to have been caught in the attack.
The U.S. condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”
National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that the attack on military checkpoint is the latest “in the deeply concerning trend of increasing violence by the PKK.”
“We also condemn the senseless motorcycle bomb attack near a police station in Istanbul on Thursday that was claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons [TAK], the PKK's urban terrorist unit,” the spokesman added.
A TAK terrorist detonated a bomb-laden motorcycle in the Bahcelievler district that wounded 10 victims. The suspect was captured Friday by police.
Price reiterated Washington's commitment to Turkey “to defeat all forms of terrorism.”
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini condemned the attack and said in a statement that the EU and Turkey stood "united" against all kinds of terrorism.
"The dangerous spiral of violence in the southeast of Turkey must come to an end, arms must be laid down and a political process based on a genuine dialogue needs to start. The EU is ready to accompany this process," the statement said.
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Pedro Agramunt expressed solidarity with the Turkish people after the attack.
“Once again, it appears that terrorism strikes one of our member states Turkey. I strongly condemn the car bomb attack," the president said.
Qatar condemned the bombing, which targeted a gendarmerie station in Hakkari Province in southeastern Turkey.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed Qatar's solidarity with Turkey and reiterated the country's stance “rejecting violence and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whatever the motives and causes”.
Pakistan also strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reaffirmed “solidarity with Turkey”, according to a statement released by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry.
“Pakistan condemns this mindless act of terrorism in the strongest possible terms. We extend our heart-felt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and to the fraternal people and the government of Turkey. We also pray for the speediest and fullest recovery of the wounded,” the statement said.
The blast occurred at a checkpoint in front of the Durak gendarmerie outpost, which is around 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the Semdinli town center.
The casualties were taken to nearby hospitals and an air-and-land operation was launched to apprehend the terrorists.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU. Since it resumed its decades-old armed campaign, PKK terror attacks martyred more than 600 security personnel and claimed lives of many civilians including women and children while around 7,000 terrorists were killed in army operations.