Twelve people were killed in a spate of bombings against Turkish security forces blamed on Kurdish rebels who appear to have ramped up their campaign of attacks in the aftermath of the failed coup.
Turkish officials accused the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of carrying out three bloody attacks in less than 24 hours that for the first time struck areas in the east that are not predominantly Kurdish.
“This nation will never surrender to any terrorist organisation,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday on a visit to the scene of one of the bombings.
The bloodshed comes in the week that the PKK — regarded as a terrorist organisation by Ankara and its Western allies — marks what is considered to be the 32nd anniversary of its armed rebellion against the Turkish state.
In the deadliest strike, five soldiers and a village guard were killed when a homemade bomb blew up in the path of a military convoy in the southeastern town of Bitlis on Thursday, Turkish media reported.
Just a few hours earlier, three police officers were killed and more than 200 people injured in a car bombing against police headquarters in the eastern city of Elazig, leaving the building largely in ruins.
The city, a conservative nationalist bastion, had been spared much of the violence that has rocked the Kurdish-dominated southeast since a two-and-a-half year ceasefire collapsed in 2015.
The rebels appear to have intensified their attacks since the failed attempt on July 15 to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
One senior Turkish politician suggested that the PKK was collaborating with supporters of U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating the coup bid.
“Once again, the attacks in Van and Elazig show how PKK and FETO [Fethullah Terrorist Organisation] work together,” ex-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu wrote on Twitter.