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 Turkish police officer killed in Istanbul suicide attack

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Turkish police officer killed in Istanbul suicide attack  11.9.2012  

The attacker blew himself up at Turkish police station's entrance in Istanbul.
Photo: AFP/Bulent Kilic.
September 11, 2012

ISTANBUL, Turkey,— At least one police officer died and seven people were severely wounded on Tuesday in a suicide bombing targeting a police station in central Istanbul, the police chief said.

"The suicide bomber set off the explosives on him after throwing a grenade into the police station and killed one police officer and wounded four others at the entry," Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin told reporters at the scene.

The assailant, identified as a 25 year-old male, was also killed in the explosion, which also lightly injured three civilians, Capkin said.

The attacker came running towards the Gazi police station in the Sultangazi district and blew himself up at the entrance, partially destroying the front door and the ceiling, witnesses said.

The wounded were taken to nearby hospitals and the toll was likely to rise, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, and Capkin declined to comment on the attacker's organisation.

The neighbourhood, predominantly populated by Turkey's Alawite minority, was the scene of mass demonstrations in 1995 after 23 were killed in four days of unrest, 17 of them by police bullets, according to forensics reports.

The so-called Gazi riots were triggered after unidentified assailants randomly opened fire on people in March 1995, wounding dozens and killing two, one of them a religious leader.

Locals, who blamed the deaths on an inadequate police response, overran police stations and started a brief unrest that was contained after troops intervened.

In May, two suicide bombers killed one policeman when they drove into a police station in the central city of Kayseri and opened gun fire before setting off a bomb.

That attack killed one officer instantly, left another in critical condition and wounded 16 civilians, including several children. The two assailants were also killed.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said it had carried out the May attack.

Another suicide bombing took place last October in the eastern town of Bingol, where two people were killed when a woman blew herself up near the headquarters of the governing Justice and Development Party.

In November 2010 in Istanbul, a bomber blew himself up on the central Taksim square, wounding 32 people.

The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem, Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.

Since it was established in 1984, the 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. More than 40,000 people have since been killed.

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 rebels.

The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.

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 expectations.

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.

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, AFP | | Agencies  


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