A car bomb attack has targeted a police station near the town of Semdinli in southeast Turkey, killing 17 soldiers and wounding 27 people, including civilians.
Turkish security sources said the blast hit the Durak gendarmerie station, 20 kilometers from Semdinli, in a mountainous part of Hakkari Province near the border with Iraq and Iran, where Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants are active. The provincial governor’s office, in a statement on Sunday, raised the death toll from an initial six to 17. Turkey’s southeast has been volatile since a shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK, which had stood since 2013, was declared null and void by the militants following Turkish strikes against the group.
Turkey’s operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern town of Suruc, which the government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. After the bombing, PKK militants, who accuse Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations. According to a latest toll given by Turkish media, more than 600 members of Turkey’s security forces and over 7,000 PKK militants have been killed since the collapse of the truce. The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since 1984.