Turkey PM: PKK – not ISIL – bombed police HQ killing 11

Prime Minister says Kurdistan Workers Party behind Friday blast that also wounded more than 100 after ISIL makes claim.

Damaged cars are seen on a street after a blast in Diyarbakir
At least 11 people were killed in the bombing outside a police station in southern Diyarbakir city [EPA]

Confusion over who carrried out a deadly bombing in Turkey’s southern city of Diyarbakir swirled on Saturday a day after the massive blast outside a police headquarters. 

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, for the explosion that killed 11 people and wounded more than 100. The armed group has regularly targeted security forces since ending a truce in 2015.

However, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) earlier claimed responsibility on Saturday for the Diyarbakir attack

ISIL claims responsibility for Turkey car bomb attack

So far there has been no denial or claim of responsibility from the PKK.

Yildirim said the PKK had once again reared its “ugly face” with the bombing outside the police station, with two officers among the dead.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said the attack left a swathe of devastation, blowing out the entire front of a nearby apartment block and leaving the surroundings covered in rubble.

Emergency workers on Saturday sifted through the damage, while residents arrived to gather whatever belongings they could salvage, an AFP news agency photographer said.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the PKK first took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out an independent state for Turkey’s Kurdish minority.

The PKK has been designated as a “terror group” by Turkey, the EU, and the United States.

ISIL call for attacks

Meanwhile, the US-based SITE Intelligence Group – citing the ISIL-affiliated Amaq news site – said “fighters from the Islamic State detonated an explosives-laden vehicle parked in front” of the police headquarters in Diyarbakir.

In an audio message released earlier this week, reclusive ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi broke a nearly year-long silence to call for attacks against Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia, and for his fighters to hold their ground in the battle for their stronghold of Mosul, Iraq.

Ankara has troops stationed at a base just outside Mosul and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s escalating rhetoric has raised fears of an expanded Turkish military intervention in Iraq.

“[The Diyarbakir attack] could be retaliation by [ISIL] for the fact that Turkey is now participating in the coalition,” Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project and senior associate at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Al Jazeera.

READ MORE: What is Turkey trying to achieve in Iraq?

The local governorate in Diyarbakir on Saturday issued a new statement insisting the bombing was carried out by the PKK, saying this conclusion was based on intercepted radio conversations.

It said the three tonnes of explosives used in the bombing were activated by a PKK operative with the codename “Kemal”.

“This information clearly shows that the attack was carried out by the separatist terror organisation,” it said, using the customary official phrase for the PKK.

The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) said six of its MPs, including its co-leaders, narrowly escaped injury in the attack as they were being held in the police complex after their detention overnight.     

Fighting between the PKK and state security forces resumed last year after the collapse of a fragile two-and-a-half-year ceasefire.

Since then, more than 600 Turkish security personnel and thousands of PKK fighters have been killed.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies