The armed wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has claimed responsibility for killing two Turkish police officers, saying the murders were reprisals for a suicide attack in the border town of Suruc.
“A punitive action was carried out… in revenge for the massacre in Suruc,” the People’s Defence Forces (HPG) said in a statement on its website on Wednesday, accusing the two officers of cooperating with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The two police officers were found shot dead at their home in the town of Ceylanpinar on the border with Syria, two days after the Suruc suicide attack that killed 32 people, mostly ethnic Kurds.
The statement by the HPG said that the attack took place at 0300 GMT, and that the police officers’ identity cards and service weapons had been seized.
It described the attackers as an “Apoist team of self-sacrifice”, in reference to the PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan whose nickname is “Apo.”
The news comes as Turkish government officials revealed on Wednesday that a 20-year-old Turkish linked to ISIL carried out the suicide attack on Monday.
The attacker was identified by DNA tests, the official told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.
Media reports had earlier said the man – identified by his initials SAA – had first become involved with ISIL two months ago.
Turkish authorities are also reportedly investigating if an unidentified female corpse found after the Suruc bombing might be a second suicide bomber.
Ratcheting up tensions
Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom, reporting from the Turkish border town of Ackakale, said Turkey’s Kurdish minority are “very angry” at the government following Monday’s blast.
He said that Kurdish groups are accusing the government of “turning a blind eye” on ISIL.
The attack on the police risks further ratcheting up tensions in Turkey after the deadly bombing, bringing the battle between Kurds and ISIL that is raging inside Syria onto Turkish territory.\
The authorities had earlier appeared at a loss to explain the attack on the police in Ceylanpinar, which had been first announced earlier Wednesday.
Turkish television quoted the governor of Sanliurfa region, Izzettin Kucuk, as saying earlier it was not immediately clear if the attack had “terrorist connections”.
The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency for self-rule that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
It declared a truce in 2013 after the government opened secret peace negotiations with Ocalan.
However, Kurds have become increasingly frustrated with the government’s policy on Syria, as Ankara refuses to support the Kurdish groups fighting ISIL fighters inside Syria.
Kurds, widely seen as the world’s largest group of stateless people, are Turkey’s largest minority and the main group in the southeast of the country.