ISTANBUL (AFP) – A splinter group of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a car bomb and gun attack that left two people dead in the Turkish city of Izmir, a report said.
The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) said one of its “revenge teams” had carried out the attack in the usually peaceful Aegean city on January 5, in a statement carried by the pro-PKK Firat news agency.
It said the two male attackers, aged 29 and 25, were from eastern Turkey.
Describing Izmir as “peaceful, safe and a jewel of tourism and trade,” the TAK accused the Turkish government of trying to “cover up the wounds” of the attacks it has perpetrated by using “psychological warfare”.
The car bombing killed a traffic policeman and a court worker, triggering a deadly shootout in which two “terrorists” were killed.
Officials praised the dead policeman Fethi Sekin as a hero for preventing a far higher toll by stopping the car and then chasing down the attackers.
Turkey is on edge after a slew of attacks, including a New Year’s Eve shooting rampage on an Istanbul nightclub claimed by Islamic State (IS) extremists, which killed 39 revellers, mainly foreigners.
The PKK – proscribed as a terror organisation by Ankara, the United States and the European Union – has been waging an insurgency against Turkey since 1984.
The shadowy TAK organisation is seen by some analysts as more extreme than the PKK although the Turkish government says it is merely a front for the better-known group.
The TAK has claimed a string of bombings in Turkey over the last year, including a December double bombing near the Besiktas football stadium that left 46 people dead.