A deadly car bomb exploded on the southeastern border near of Turkey near Syria on Monday, killing nine civilians, including four children, and wounding at least 60 more people, Reuters reports. Some officials have been quick to blame the incident on Kurdish separatists.
That suggestion comes after years of steady attacks in the area, most of which have been staged by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). One official had this to say about the PKK and the newest tragedy near Syria, “The PKK … is trying to provoke our citizens by targeting the civilian population directly. Our citizens must remain cool-headed.”
The explosion was caused by a remote-controlled car bomb that was concealed near a police station in the town of Gaziantep. Although no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the action, many Turkish officials have assumed that this newest wave of violence is a move made by the PKK separatist movement. Many of its members have been attempting to gain control of this corner of Turkey for many years now. Members of the KPP denied having any part in Monday’s violence.
Pressure has also been building along this border as current Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan remains staunchly opposed to the rule of Syrian president Bashar Assad. Both Prime Minister Erdogan and foregin minister to Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, have supported the opposition movement in Syria in recent months. Nearly 70,000 Syrian refugees are being housed in Turkey currently, according to Reuters.
Davutoglu recently begged the United Nations to build refugee camps in Syria in order to ease pressure on Turkish resources. He said:
If the number of refugees in Turkey surpasses 100,000, we will run out of space to accommodate them. We should be able to accommodate them in Syria. The United Nations may build camps in a safe zone within Syria’s borders.
Turkish officials are concerned that the current tension in Syria could allow PKK acts to intensify, resulting in a stronger campaign for self-rule in the southeast corner of Turkey, the Daily Mail notes. Some officials even believe that the Syrian government supports the current PKK group. Kurds currently make up about 20 percent of the Turkish population but are still considered a minority with limited rights and recognition.
Monday’s tragedy was prefaced by the death of two Turkish soldiers who were killed by a landmine by a road, another incident believed to have been started by PKK rebels.
Photo Credit: Tomas Maltby, Flickr