Turkey replies PKK rebels’ suicide bombing

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Turkey has launched air strikes against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq following a bomb attack in Ankara that killed 37 people.

Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed a crackdown after Sunday’s bombing.

No group said it carried out the attack but Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said evidence “almost certainly” pointed towards the banned PKK Kurdish separatist group.

Mr Davutoglu said 11 people had so far been detained in connection with the attack.
“There are very serious, almost certain indications that point to the separatist terror organisation,” he said, referring to the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

Four of those detained were in the south-eastern city of Sanliurfa, according to Turkish media. Officials were quoted as saying the car used in the bombing was traced to a showroom there.

One of the bombers, who also died in the blast, was “definitely” a woman, Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus said.

Mr Kurtulmus also told reporters that a second suicide bomber was male, but had not yet been identified.

Earlier, unnamed security officials said the female bomber was a member of the PKK from the eastern town of Kars, who joined the group in 2013.

Eleven warplanes carried out air strikes on 18 PKK targets in northern Iraq including ammunition dumps and shelters in the Qandil and Gara sectors, the army said.
The PKK confirmed the strikes.

Meanwhile, curfews have been imposed in two mainly Kurdish towns in south-eastern Turkey, Yuksekova and Nusaybin, as security operations are carried out against Kurdish militants, Anadolu news agency reports. Another curfew is due to start in the city of Sirnak.

Funeral services have been taking place for some of those killed. Among the victims was the father of a Turkish international footballer.
More than 100 people were wounded in the blast.

Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against ISIS and allows coalition planes to use its air base at Incirlik for raids on Iraq and Syria.
It has also been carrying out a campaign of bombardment against Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it regards as a extension of the PKK.

Kurdish groups have a presence which runs across several regions towards the East.

In Turkey, the Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has representation in the parliament but has on several occasions been accused by the ruling party of supporting militants.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was banned because of its hostility to the Turkish government. It has camps in northern Iraq and operates in south-eastern Turkey.

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) are offshoots of rebel party PKK.
They claimed responsibility for last month’s Ankara bombing.

In Syria, Democratic Unity Party (PYD) has been linked to one of Turkish rebel parties, PKK.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG) controls area on Turkish border known as Rojava. Though they are mainly  known for fighting international terrorist group ISIS, they are regarded by the Turkish government as an extension of the PKK.

In Iraq, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) runs Kurdish region of northern Iraq with Peshmerga as armed forces and it has friendly relations with Turkey.
The KDP is also a dominant political party in the region.

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish political party, the HDP, issued a statement condemning the attack, saying it shares “the huge pain felt along with our citizens”.

Last month, a bomb attack on a military convoy in Ankara killed 28 people and wounded dozens more.

The bombing was claimed by a Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK). It said on its website that the attack was in retaliation for the policies of President Erdogan.

Turkey, however, blamed a Syrian national who was a member of the YPG.

Last October, more than 100 people were killed in a double-suicide bombing at a Kurdish peace rally in Ankara.

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