Kurdish Rebels Claim Responsibility for Deadly Istanbul Airport Blast

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - An armed Kurdish group claimed responsibility for what it called a mortar attack after explosions at Istanbul’s second international airport killed a female cleaner and wounded another.

Kurdish Rebels Claim Responsibility for Deadly Istanbul Airport Blast

“We … claim the attack carried out by mortar bombs at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport [on Wednesday],” the Freedom Falcons of Kurdistan (TAK) said on its website, AFP reported on Sunday.

Airport cleaner Zehra Yamac, 30, died of head wounds hours after the blast on the tarmac at the airport on the Asian side of Turkey’s largest city. The wounded victim was also a cleaner. Turkish authorities said little about what might have caused the explosions.

The attack came as Turkey wages an offensive against the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), which launched an armed insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984, initially fighting for Kurdish independence, then pressing for greater autonomy for the country’s largest ethnic minority.

Turkish officials say TAK is a front for PKK attacks on civilian targets, but the PKK claims TAK is a splinter group over which it has no control.

On its website TAK lashed out at what it described as a “war coalition” between the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group against the Kurds.

It also said the airport attack was a response to the “fascist attacks that turn Kurdish cities into ruins”.

The Turkish military said on Saturday that nearly 200 PKK rebels had been killed in the army offensive in the south-east centred on the province of Sirnak and city of Diyarbakir.

In Ankara about 300 female activists on Saturday protested against the violence in the south-east of the country, an Agence France-Presse photographer at the scene reported.

The protesters marched to the city’s main Kizilay square, forming a “chain for peace”.

The Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, cancelled a meeting with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP), criticising the party of banking on “conflict and tensions”, his office said in an emailed statement.

Davutoglu had planned to meet with three political party leaders including HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas next week to discuss constitutional reforms.

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