Kurdish militants have claimed responsibility for two Turkish police officers, in revenge for an Islamic State bombing which killed 32 people in a Turkish border town.
Kurdish militants claimed responsibility for the assassination on Wednesday of two Turkish police officers in what they said was retaliation for a suspected Islamic State suicide bombing which killed 32 mostly young students.
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said in a statement on one of its websites that the two police officers were killed at around 6 a.m. in the south-eastern town of Ceylanpinar for “collaboration with the Daesh (Islamic State) gangs”.
Security sources earlier told Reuters the officers were found dead with bullet wounds to the head in the house they shared in Ceylanpinar, on the border with Syria some 160 km (100 miles) east of Suruc, the site of Monday’s suicide bombing.
Many of Turkey’s Kurds and opposition supporters suspect President Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AK Party of covertly backing Islamic State against Kurdish fighters in Syria, something the government has repeatedly denied.
Anti-government protests after Monday’s bombing in Suruc erupted in several cities for a second night on Tuesday, with some of the demonstrators chanting “Murderer Islamic State, collaborator Erdogan and AKP”.
“Although Islamic State has been held responsible for this attack, Turkey’s AKP government, by resisting the taking of effective measures to prevent Islamic State and other reactionary forces, bears the real responsibility,” the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose support base is mostly Kurdish, said in a statement.
Turkey’s NATO allies have expressed concern about control of its border with Syria which in parts runs directly parallel with territory controlled by Islamic State. The prospect of conflict spilling onto Turkish soil, embroiling Kurds, Islamist militants and security forces will raise alarm inside and outside Turkey.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu rejected accusations that Turkey had tacitly supported Islamic State and had unwittingly opened the door to the bombing; but he said initial evidence suggested the Islamist radical group was responsible.