The PKK-affiliated TAK terrorist group has claimed responsibility for an attack which killed 11 people in Istanbul’s Vezneciler District on Tuesday.
Seven police officers and four civilians were killed when a car bomb exploded as a police bus was passing during morning rush hour. Thirty-six people were also injured, including three who are in critical condition.
Tuesday’s blast took place close to Istanbul University, the mayor’s office and a metro station. It was the latest in a series of terror attacks to hit major Turkish cities in the past 12 months.
Four suspects were arrested in connection with the incident on the same day.
In a statement released on Friday, the TAK said it had carried out the attack in revenge for operations being undertaken by Turkish Armed Forces in the southeastern regions of the country.
The terrorist organisation claims to have broken off from the PKK several years ago, but Turkey accuses it of acting on behalf of the PKK under a different name.
Fighting between the Turkish Armed Forces and the PKK has been intense in southeastern Turkey since the PKK unilaterally ended a ceasefire last year after objecting to the Turkish Government building of dams in the region.
Tensions have been worsened by the crisis in northern Syria, where the PKK’s Syrian branch – the YPG – has been gaining territory across the Turkish border.
The YPG has enjoyed support from the US in the fight against DAESH, despite the fact that the PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation not only by Turkey but also by the US and the EU.
However, the US insists on treating the YPG as a separate group.
The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and has killed over 40,000 people in its bid to impose its Marxist-Leninist ideology on the mainly Kurdish regions of southeastern Turkey.
Hundreds of police officers and soldiers have died in clashes since the ceasefire ended last year, while around 7,600 PKK terrorists have also been killed, marking some of the worst violence since the 1990s.