DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkey’s prime minister on Saturday visited victims of a bomb that killed five people in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir and said the attack proved the desperation of Kurdish PKK separatist rebels.
Turkey has blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for Thursday’s bombing, which targeted a military convoy in the centre of Diyarbakir. Five people, including three children, were killed and more than 100 injured in the blast.
“This treacherous act shows the desperation of the terrorist organization as well as its lack of any goal,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference after talks with the provincial governor.
The PKK has made no comment on the bombing and there has been no claim of responsibility.
Turkey is currently waging an aerial bombing campaign against PKK targets in nearby northern Iraq, including cave hideouts that serve as living quarters and arsenals.
Turkey’s military said it killed over 150 members of the PKK in the largest of its strikes on December 16.
Some commentators suggested that Thursday’s bomb attack could indicate that the PKK would increasingly focus on urban targets in its struggle with Turkish authorities.
In Diyarbakir, largest city of Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast region, Erdogan toured the site of the blast and also said he would visit the families of the bereaved.
Hospitals say the death toll is likely to rise further as some people were very badly hurt.
Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people since the group took up arms in 1984 to try to carve out an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey.
The PKK is classified by the United States and the European Union as well as by Ankara as a terrorist group.
Writing by Thomas Grove; editing by Myra MacDonald