Car bomb attack hits Turkey ruling party

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ISTANBUL: A car bomb exploded on Monday outside the provincial headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the eastern Turkish city of Van, wounding more than 50 people, including four police, local authorities said.

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Turkish officials blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state and is considered a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies.

The attack took place near a police checkpoint outside the party building, located in the heart of the city, the local governor’s office said in a statement.

A car “was blown up by members of the separatist terror organization,” it added, using a term to describe Kurdish militants.

Local governor Ibrahim Tasyapan said at least 53 people including four police officers were wounded in the attack, adding the bomb was detonated by remote control.

CNN-Turk television reported that some Iranian tourists in the bustling city were among the injured.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which came on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha.

But Besir Atalay, an AKP lawmaker from Van, pointed the finger of blame at the PKK.

“The terrorist organization has targeted our party building and the AKP’s presence in the past. This is one of their attacks,” he added, in live comments on the private NTV television.

Witnesses said the blast shattered windows in the vicinity and the AKP’s provincial offices sustained severe damage.

Several ambulances rushed to the scene and television images showed water cannon being used to douse a fire.

Van, a city with a mixed Kurdish and Turkish population on the shores of the lake of the same name, has generally been spared the worst of attacks like those seen in the nearby city of Diyarbakir.

AFP

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