ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A roadside bomb explosion in eastern Turkey on Saturday injured 10 policemen riding in a van on their way to a shooting range, Turkey’s state-run TRT television said.
The explosion in Van came a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the city. There was no immediate responsibility claim, but Kurdish rebels who are fighting for self-rule in southeastern Turkey have targeted police with bombings in the past.
In speeches in Van and in the nearby city of Igdir on Friday, Erdogan ruled out negotiating with the rebels belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, for an end to the decades-old conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984. Erdogan said state security forces would continue their struggle against the group until it lays down arms.
The attack came as police clashed with Kurdish activists trying to hold a rally in support of the PKK’s imprisoned leader in the mainly-Kurdish city of Diyarbakir despite a government ban on the meeting. A Kurdish political party called the rally to press for house arrest for PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, instead of prison. The governor’s office would not permit the rally citing security concerns.
Dogan news agency video footage showed some activists throwing stones at police who used water cannons and tear gas to prevent a group of protesters that included some Kurdish legislators from reaching their rallying point.
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