The blast has injured at least 48 people near the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK party’s) headquarters in Van province on Monday.
The Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) has been blamed by the Deputy Chairman of the AK party, Besir Atalay, for the attack. However, there has been no immediate claim of the responsibility of the attack. The governor’s office stated that a bomb-laden vehicle was blown up and two police officers and forty-six civilians were injured, bringing the known number of injured people to at least 48. While there have been no reports of any deaths just yet, two are said to be in critical condition.
The explosion struck just 200 meters from the headquarters, setting nearby buildings and cars on fire and tearing off the front of a four-storey building. Images on television showed water cannons being deployed to stop the fire caused by the blast, while witnesses commented that the force of the explosion shattered windows of buildings in the surrounding area.
28 Mayors Removed from Government
The blast occurred on the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, also the day after it was announced by the government, according to Reuters, that 24 mayors were removed from Kurdish-run municipalities. The decision to remove the mayors was largely due to their alleged association to the Kurdish Workers’ Party.
According to reports by Aljazeera, Turkey and its western allies consider and list the PKK as a terrorist group. The removal of the mayors triggered protests, with the People’s Democratic Party – the pro-Kurdish opposition party – stating that the removal was illegal.
The southeast province of Van’s population is mostly Kurdish. The Turkish government has increased its military campaign in the southeast in an endeavor to eliminate PKK fighters. There have been attacks almost daily since the fracture of a brittle ceasefire in 2015. An insurgency for Kurdish rule in the southeast of the country has been going on for three decades, killing an estimated 40,000 people.
Turkey’s Insurgent Problem
The country is also being tormented by another group of insurgents led by Isis militants who are angry at Turkey’s strikes against them in Syria, across the border.
239 people were wounded and 41 people killed in June when explosives were detonated by two suicide bombers before three others started shooting with AK-47s at Istanbul Airport. There has been extensive political disruption since a failed attempt on the 15th of July to oust President Erdogan by some members of the army.
A widespread crackdown has been launched by President Erdogan since the attempted coup, which has resulted in thousands of people being forced to resign or fired from the police, Armed Forces and government posts, and has seen the arrest of at least 26,000 people.