ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Kurdish separatists said on Tuesday they were not responsible for a car bomb that killed nine people in the southeastern town of Gaziantep near Turkey’s border with Syria late on Monday.
“Our fighters have nothing to do with this explosion,” Firat News, a website close to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, cited the PKK as saying in a statement.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, which officials said was caused by a remote-controlled car bomb, but southeastern Turkey has seen frequent attacks by the PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.
Turkey has accused neighbouring Syria of supporting the PKK, which launched a separatist insurgency in the region 28 years ago, since when more than 40,000 people have been killed.
Gaziantep is around 50 km (30 miles) from the Syrian border. Turkey has opened a centre in the town to receive international aid as it copes with an influx of almost 70,000 Syrian refugees fleeing fighting across the border.
The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), a group connected to the PKK, has claimed responsibility for some past attacks in Turkey outside the PKK’s regular area of operation.
Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Jon Hemming