A suspected Kurdish PKK bomb attack has struck the Turkish city of Adana today, claiming two lives and wounding more than 30 outside the governor’s office, weeks after the United States warned of attacks by what it called extremist groups.
Video footage showed a vehicle ablaze in the car park outside the building and thick black smoke rising into the sky in the city, 40 kilometres from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Windows were blown out and parts of the facade of the building, roughly six floors high, were torn off.
Labour Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said Kurdish PKK militants were likely to be responsible and that dozens of people were wounded, five of them seriously.
“It looks like [the PKK] were probably behind it this morning yet again, as this looks like their one of their actions,” he told broadcaster CNN Turk.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, better known as the PKK, is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU.
The state-run Anadolu Agency quoted provincial governor Mahmut Demirtas as saying two people were killed. Anadolu said the blast, which occurred shortly after 05:00 GMT, came from a vehicle in front of the building.
Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was in Adana for a conference at a separate location, said 33 people had been wounded in the blast with five in critical condition.
Adana is about 16 kilometres from Incirlik Air Base, which the US military uses to launch attacks against Daesh in Syria, and has historically been used by the US in other engagements, including its wars against Iraq.
Families of US military personnel were ordered to leave Adana and some other parts of Turkey in March over security concerns.
“Damned terror continues to target our people. We will fight with this terror to the end in the name of humanity,” Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik wrote on Twitter, saying he had spoken to the Adana governor.
“The ones who target our peace and fundamental rights of our citizens will be punished in the strongest way possible within [the] rule of law,” Celik continued to tweet. (https://twitter.com/omerrcelik/status/801686372184707072)
The US embassy in Turkey strongly condemned what it described as an “outrageous terrorist attack” and said it stood against terror with Turkey, a NATO ally and member of the US-led coalition against Daesh.
PKK, Daesh militancy claiming lives
PKK militants have carried out many attacks on civilians, members of the security forces and government buildings since July 2015, when the peace process between the group and the Turkish state collapsed.
A Turkish soldier was killed and two wounded today after an improvised explosive device was detonated by suspected PKK militants in the southeastern province of Sirnak, near the Syrian and Iraqi borders, security sources said.
The PKK has waged a three-decade separatist insurgency for Kurdish independence in Turkey’s southeast.
Turkey has also been hit by at least half a dozen suicide attacks blamed on Daesh over the past year, including suicide bombings in Istanbul in January and March which killed German and Israeli tourists, and a gun and bomb attack at Istanbul airport which killed 45 people in June.
Turkey launched an incursion into Syria to try to push Daesh away from the border in August, days after a suicide bomber killed more than 50 people at a wedding in the southern city of Gaziantep.
The US Consulate General in Adana warned three weeks ago that “extremist groups continue aggressive efforts to attack US citizens and other foreigners in Adana.” The State Department has warned US citizens to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey.