Turkey detains 1000, including Kurdish ‘militants’ after bomb attack

| | Ankara
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Turkey detains 1000, including Kurdish ‘militants’ after bomb attack

Wednesday, 04 October 2023 | AP | Ankara

Police detained almost a thousand people in raids across Turkiye on Tuesday, including dozens with alleged links to Kurdish militants, days after a suicide bomb attack in the Turkish capital.

Police detained at least 67 people across Turkiye on Tuesday in a sweep targeting people with alleged links to Kurdish militants, days after a suicide bomb attack in the Turkish capital.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said police carried out raids in 16 Turkish provinces, detaining 55 people suspected of being part of the “intelligence structure” of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

At least 12 other suspected PKK members were rounded up in a separate operation in five provinces, Yerlikaya wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The PKK has led a decades-long insurgency in Turkiye and is considered a terror organisation by the United States and the European Union. Tens of thousands of people have died since the start of the conflict in 1984.

Yerlikaya later said that 928 people suspected of holding unlicensed firearms or being connected to firearms smuggling were also arrested during the operation, but he did not immediately make it clear if the suspects arrested for illegal firearms were suspected of connections to the PKK.

He added that over 840 firearms were confiscated during the operation.

On Sunday, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device near an entrance to the Interior Ministry hours before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was set to address Parliament as it returned from its summer recess. A second would-be bomber was killed in a shootout with police. Two police officers were slightly wounded in the attack. The suspects arrived at the scene inside a vehicle they seized from a veterinarian in the central Turkish of Kayseri after shooting him in the head, officials said.

The PKK claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a news website close to the group, while Turkish authorities identified one of the assailants as a PKK militant. Hours later, Turkiye’s Air Force carried out airstrikes on suspected PKK sites in northern Iraq, where the group’s leadership is based.

The Defence Ministry said a large number of PKK militants were “neutralised” in the strikes.

Yerlikaya did not clarify whether the people rounded up on Tuesday were suspected of direct involvement in Sunday’s attack.

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