Following the terrorist attack last Thursday where seven civilians were killed and 10 others injured in southeastern Turkey's Diyarbakır province, the number of suspects detained rose to four as part of the investigation launched into the incident.
Within the scope of the investigation, police forces conducted an operation the next day and subsequently Kulp Mayor Mehmet Fatih Taş from the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), director of the civil works of the municipality Şener Aktaş and district chairman of the HDP, Abidin Karaman, were taken into custody upon a tip-off that a municipal vehicle was spotted in the area shortly before the blast. While the interrogation of the three suspects continued, gendarmerie forces detained another suspect with the initials M.E.A. during an operation on Sunday related to the attack. It was found out that the suspect was nominated as a candidate by the HDP for the March 31 local elections, yet his candidacy was refused due to previous crimes. The interrogation of the four suspects is ongoing at the police station.
PKK terrorists targeted a vehicle carrying forestry workers with an improvised explosive decide (IED). In a statement, the Diyarbakır Governorate said the terrorist attack took place in the Kulp district at around 6 p.m. The PKK terrorists used explosives to target the vehicle carrying 20 workers who were heading to the forest to collect wood, the statement added. Many medical and gendarmerie teams rushed to the scene of the explosion.
One of the citizens that survived the attack but was injured, Mehmet Ekmen, said: "Whenever I close my eyes, I remember my friends whose pulse I checked. All of them that were sitting on my right died. This was an attack that intentionally targeted civilians."
Ekmen, who got on a small truck with his colleagues after work to get on the highway said that together with the huge explosion, the truck tumbled after traveling about 1 kilometer. He said that he was thrown 50 meters away but was still conscious and could see what was going on. Ekmen, who was transferred to a hospital in southeastern Diyarbakır after the initial first response in Kulp, thanked the government for its mobilization. "We were targeted because we support the government. They had also threatened my father before," he added.
The attack was condemned by leading political figures and nongovernmental organizations, while citizens even launched rallies to speak against terrorist attacks. Thousands of citizens took to the streets throughout eastern Turkey on Saturday, including politicians, local authorities and nongovernmental organizations. The rallies took place in the cities of Ağrı, Batman, Bingöl, Bitlis, Elazığ, Hakkari, Mardin, Muş, Siirt, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak, Tunceli, Van and Tunceli as well as in various district centers in the same provinces.
Terrorist responsible for deaths of Turkish soldiers killed
Meanwhile, the terrorist responsible for the deaths of two Turkish soldiers in charge of security during the World Rafting Championship in eastern Turkey's Tunceli province on June 12 was identified yesterday morning by the provincial directorate of security and gendarmerie command. İbrahim Tatlı, who was killed within the scope of internal security measures in a rural area of Tunceli, was using the code name "Botan." During the encounter, a conflict arose between the PKK terrorists and security forces. The rest of the terrorists involved in the confrontation fled the scene and are now being tracked by security forces. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.