Turkey detains 235 over Kurdish militant links after Istanbul blasts

ISTANBUL/ANKARA: Turkey detained 235 people over alleged links to Kurdish fighters in nationwide raids on Monday, two days after twin bombings killed 44 people and wounded about 150 outside an Istanbul soccer stadium.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu vowed those responsible for Saturday’s attacks, claimed by an offshoot of the PKK militant group, would be “wiped from this geography”.
“Our people expect us to defeat and eliminate this terrorist organisation, which has attacked our nation for 40 years,” Soylu said while paying a condolence visit to a riot police headquarters in Istanbul.
“We want everyone to know that they will not get anywhere by hiding behind political parties, behind politicians, behind those media outlets protecting them,” Soylu said.
Most of those killed in the bomb blasts were riot police. Funerals were held for a second day on Monday, the victims’ coffins draped in the Turkish flag. A cabinet meeting was postponed to enable government ministers to attend.
The PKK, which took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and is fighting for Kurdish autonomy, is deemed a terrorist organisation by the United States and European Union, as well as by Turkey. Saturday’s attack was one of the deadliest claimed by Kurdish fighters for decades.
Turkish warplanes carried out air strikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq, destroying a PKK headquarters and surrounding gun positions and shelters, an army statement said. — Reuters