Explosion in southeast Turkey kills 5 civilians, blamed on PKK

A blast caused by an improvised explosive device on a road in southeast Turkey has killed five forestry workers, the Associated Press said on Wednesday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion that took place near the town of Kulp in Diyarbakır province.

However, AP said the regional governor’s office had blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for the explosion and said that Turkey’s military has launched an operation to catch the perpetrators.

Four villagers were killed last year in a similar attack on a road in Kulp, which was also blamed on the PKK.

Last week, an explosion in eastern Turkey, believed to have been carried out by the PKK, damaged a natural gas pipeline and halted gas flows from Iran.

The PKK has waged a more than three-decade old insurgency in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish southeast region. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since it started in 1984.

The group is considered a terror organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

A report by the International Crisis Group released in March found that at least 4,825 people had been killed in clashes or attacks since July 20, 2015, when a peace process broke down in the conflict between Turkey and the PKK. 

The number includes 489 civilians and 226 people, who could not be confirmed to be civilians or combatants.