Published: Sun, December 18, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Erdogan blames militants for auto bomb

Erdogan blames militants for auto bomb

Broadcaster NTV said the bus was carrying off-duty soldiers and civilians when it was hit by the blast near a bus stop at the campus of Erciyes University. That attack killed 44 people, mostly police officers, and wounded scores of others.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu was on his way to the city, it said. The Turkish military said the people killed in the attack were soldiers. Images showed people with head wounds and at least one person being taken away on a stretcher.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the "acts of terror" in Turkey were "aiming at all 79 million of our citizens together with our soldiers and police".

Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said in televised comments that the attack in Kayseri was "unfortunately similar" to last weekend's strikes in Istanbul.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the statements of top officials suggested suspicion was focused on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which Ankara and the West consider a terrorist organization.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later told journalists in Kahramanmaras province the Kayseri blast was "a suicide bomb attack".

Turkey has fought the PKK for decades in a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Turkey is also still reeling from a failed July 15 coup blamed on the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen that has been followed by a relentless purge of his alleged supporters from all state institutions.

"We know that these attacks we have endured are not unrelated to happenings in Syria and Iraq, or even our economical fluctuations", Erdogan said, according to the AP.

Ankara sees the Washington-backed militia as an extension of the PKK and is anxious the advance of Kurdish fighters across its borders in Syria and in Iraq, could inflame Kurdish militants at home.

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