A bomb blast in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast has killed a local government official and wounded at least two other people, authorities said Friday.
The explosion that state-run Anadolu news agency blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) tore through the area near a government building in Derik on Thursday.
The PKK, which has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has resumed attacks on security forces since the rupture of a fragile ceasefire last year. Muhammet Fatih Safiturk, who served as sub-prefect as well as mayor of Derik, was tasked by the government with running the area as part of a vast effort to replace local authorities suspected of PKK ties.
He “was martyred early Friday by wounds sustained in a PKK terrorist attack on his office a day earlier,” provincial authorities said in a statement.
After the attack security forces apprehended 20 people in the area and they were being held for questioning, Anadolu reported. Ankara has replaced a string of local elected leaders in the Kurdish majority southeast, which the government says is part of its effort to battle the PKK.
Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on Sunday said it was pulling out of parliament after nine of its MPs including the two co-leaders were arrested in an unprecedented crackdown.
The arrest on Friday of the MPs, including party leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, added to tensions as Turkey wages a relentless battle against Kurdish militants and deals with the aftermath of a July 15 failed coup. They have been charged with membership and promotion of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The move also compounded concerns among Turkey’s Western allies that the state of emergency imposed after the coup bid is being used for a general crackdown against critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and not just the suspected plotters.