ISTANBUL, Turkey, —
A bicycle bomb wounded eight people including a
police officer in Istanbul on Thursday, in an attack
that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said bore the
mark of the main Kurdish militant organisation.
The blast occurred near a bus stop in Etiler, a
residential and shopping district, at the end of the
morning rush hour in Turkey's biggest city.
Police were investigating whether the target was a
Turkish police training school nearby.
Turks vote in a parliamentary election on June 12.
Security forces are on edge as militant activity,
related to a long-running Kurdish separatist
insurgency and including attacks on police, has
increased in recent weeks.
A bicycle bomb wounded eight people including a
police officer in Istanbul on Thursday.
There was no immediate claim of
Erdogan, campaigning in central Anatolia, threw
suspicion on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the
main militant group whose insurgency began in the
1980s and has killed more than 40,000.
"When we look at the style it appears to be related
to the terror organisation," state-run Anatolian
news agency quoted Erdogan as saying, using the
veiled term he often uses to refer to the PKK.
Police chief Huseyin Capkin said an electric bicycle
with the explosive device planted on it was left
close to a nearby police technical college. "... we
can say it was a medium sized bomb," Capkin told
reporters at the scene.
Erdogan's AK Party is expected to score a
comfortable victory next month to win a third
consecutive term in office, having first come to
power in 2002.
Erdogan has said he will rewrite Turkey's
constitution if he is re-elected, to replace one
drafted in 1982 under military tutelage following a
coup two years earlier.
"The aim of the attack is to prevent Turkey from
discussing democracy, elections, a new
constitution," said Suat Kilic, a parliamentarian
from the ruling AK Party. "Terrorist organisations
carry out these attacks before every election."
"The attack aims to prevent AKP from gaining enough
seats to change the constitution," Kilic said.
Capkin said none of the wounded were in critical
condition, though CNN Turk news channel quoted
Istanbul's provincial health manager as saying two
had serious injuries.
The site of the blast was cordoned off and
white-suited forensic teams combed the area.
"We thought the building had collapsed. I even
thought that a plane had crashed into the next
garden. Everybody was in panic," pharmacist Ilhan
Kurt told Reuters.
Watching from his shop across the road he saw a few
people getting off a bus that had been passing by
when the explosion occurred. "Some people were
holding their ears, who I think were injured. Three
or four people got out of a bus."
In June 2010, a
blast rocks bus
carrying Turkish soldiers in Istanbul, five killed,www.ekurd.netwounding
12. Kurdish militants from the Kurdistan
Freedom Falcons TAK claimed
for the blast.
In 2007, bombs were mounted on bicycles in
the mostly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in the Kurdish
region in the southeast, and the western coastal
city of Izmir. Authorities blamed Kurdish rebels for
those attacks, which killed one person and wounded
about 20. The website of Hurriyet newspaper cited a
similar bicycle bombing in 2006 in the southern
coastal city of Mersin, where Kurdish militants are
Since it was established in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK has been
fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the
constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a
Kurdish state in the south east of the country.
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region
and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who
constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more
than 20 million.
A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in
Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey,
reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action
against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
Turkey also has a history of attacks by Islamic and
In 2003, Islamic militants tied to al-Qaida carried
out suicide bombings in Istanbul, killing 58 people.
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