18 killed in PKK suicide bomb attack in Turkey’s Hakkari
AA photoTen soldiers and eight civilians were killed on Oct. 9 in an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) suicide bomb attack targeting a military road checkpoint in the Şemdinli district of the eastern province of Hakkari, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has announced.
Speaking ahead of a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) consultation meeting in Istanbul, Yıldırım said 10 soldiers and eight civilians were killed in the suicide attack when a PKK bomber blew himself up inside a bomb-laden pickup that drove into the Durak gendarmerie road checkpoint in the district.
Yıldırım said five tons of explosives were used in the attack, which created a six-meter deep hole at the scene and damaged buildings nearby.
Two of the killed soldiers were identified as Pvt. Eyüp Hacıoğlu and Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. Hasan Aydoğdu.
In addition, the Hakkari Governor’s Office also stated that 27 people, including 11 soldiers, were wounded in the attack and were transferred to hospitals with a military helicopter.
It detailed that the bomb-laden pickup disobeyed stop warnings while other PKK militants opened harassment fire to distract attention. The pickup was later detonated.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced that a wide-scale air-supported operation was being conducted in the region.
Turkey’s media watchdog, RTÜK, also imposed a customary gag order following the attack.
The latest series of security operations in rural areas of the region had seriously limited the power and abilities of the PKK, making them attempt to stage suicide attacks, according to Yıldırım.
The premier voiced determination in the country’s fight against the PKK, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group and all kinds of terror organizations.
The attack on Oct. 9 also drew condemnations from a number of political figures and leaders from around the world.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly condemned the attack in a written statement, saying the government was determined to obstruct PKK attacks together with the nation and take all kinds of political, diplomatic and military precautions both at home and abroad in the interests of a more secure and peaceful future.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said in a tweet that the country would never surrender to terror organizations, vowing that all who conducted such attacks would pay the price.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also condemned the attack, saying the executive authorities should act with prudence and responsibility to ease the nation’s pain and achieve peace.
The CHP leader said the country’s rulers should not forget that they hold the power to solve problems and should not be complaining.
Development Minister Lütfi Elvan also said security forces’ latest operations had disturbed the organization, while vowing to root out all terror organizations.
Meanwhile, the U.S. also condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”
National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that the attack on military checkpoint is the latest “in the deeply concerning trend of increasing violence by the PKK.”
“We also condemn the senseless motorcycle bomb attack near a police station in Istanbul on Thursday that was claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons [TAK], the PKK's urban terrorist unit,” the spokesman added.
Price reiterated Washington's commitment to Turkey “to defeat all forms of terrorism.”
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini condemned the attack and said in a statement that the EU and Turkey stood "united" against all kinds of terrorism.
"The dangerous spiral of violence in the southeast of Turkey must come to an end, arms must be laid down and a political process based on a genuine dialogue needs to start. The EU is ready to accompany this process," the statement said.
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Pedro Agramunt expressed solidarity with the Turkish people after the attack.
“Once again, it appears that terrorism strikes one of our member states Turkey. I strongly condemn the car bomb attack," the president said.
In addition, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) also announced that a total of 387 PKK militants have been killed in operations in the province since Aug. 4.
Turkish warplanes conducted an air operation in the rural areas of Çukurca district, killing one PKK militant and destroying gun positions belonging to the organization.