ISTANBUL: Turkey today arrested dozens of suspected Kurdish militants and their supporters after an attack on the government district in the capital Ankara injured two policemen.
The raids across a swathe of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast came two days after a branch of the PKK – listed as a terror group by Turkey and its western allies – claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack.
Turkish police shot dead one of the attackers while the other died in an apparent suicide blast outside Turkey’s interior ministry.
The attack came hours before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended an opening session of parliament.
Interior minister Ali Yerlikaya said security services had detained 67 “terrorist organisation members” across 16 provinces.
Turkey on Sunday also launched air strikes against suspected PKK rear bases in the mountains of northern Iraq.
The PKK has been waging an insurgency since 1984 that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in Turkey.
A series of successive Turkish military operations has pushed the group back into neighbouring Iraq.
The PKK attack coincided with the opening of a Turkish session of parliament during which lawmakers will be asked to ratify Sweden’s membership of the Nato defence alliance.
Turkey’s ratification has been held up by anger over the refusal by the Swedish police to ban marches by the PKK and their supporters in Stockholm.
Some analysts believe the PKK may be trying to block Turkey’s ratification because it would herald an improvement in Ankara’s tense ties with Washington.
Turkey is also trying to get the US to drop its support for Kurdish fighters from the YPG group in Syria – a policy shift Ankara may expect in return for its ratification.
Washington relied on the YPG to fight the Islamic State group in the region.
But Ankara views the YPG as a sister organisation of the PKK.