Turkish authorities are accusing Kurdish militants of detonating a car bomb that wounded 50 people in front of the ruling party’s municipal headquarters Monday in the eastern city of Van.
Van Governor Ibrahim Tasyapan told state-run Anadolu news agency that 46 civilians and four police officers were wounded in the attack at a police check point outside the party offices.
Tasyapan said two of the wounded were in serious condition, but he did not specify if they are officers or civilians.
An earlier statement by the governor’s office alleged the bombers were affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
Hundreds of people have been killed and injured in Turkey in recent months in attacks the government says were carried out by Kurdish militants or the Islamic State group.
The governor’s office said security forces are working to apprehend the perpetrators of the car-bombing.
The attack came a day after Ankara replaced 28 elected mayors with appointees, mostly in the Kurdish dominated east of the country.
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party, the country’s main opposition party and the United States all have criticized the move.
Zahir Soganda, chairman of the ruling party’s Van office, told the Anadolu agency he was aware that threats of such an attack had been made after the mayors were replaced.
The explosion occurred Monday around 10:50 a.m. local time on the first day of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday. Governor Tasyapan said more people could have been hurt had nearby businesses not been closed.
Development Minister Lutfi Elvan condemned the attack, saying the car-bombers had disrespected Islam’s most important holiday.
“Of course the necessary response is being given to these traitors and will continue being given,” Anadolu quoted Elvan as saying. “Our nation and our state are strong..We are easily overcoming them and, God willing, we will root out this divisive terrorist organization as well as Daesh.”
Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told Anadolu agency that security forces had taken precautions to prevent violent attacks during the nine-day Eid al-Adha festival.
Turkey’s broadcasting authority, RTUK, imposed a temporary ban on coverage of the attack.
SOURCE: The Associated Press