Gunmen ambushed a convoy of police in northern Turkey shortly after a rally was held there by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Turkish media reports.
Erdogan has been campaigning near the Black Sea coastal city of Kastamonu, ahead of next month’s general election. (He was not in the convoy during the attack).
At least one policeman was killed in the attack, in which the assailants also three grenades at police vehicles. Two other police officers were wounded.
The police had been escorting a bus transporting officials from Erdogan’s ruling AK Party.
The gunmen are suspected of being Kurdish separatists, but no group has yet claimed responsibility for the ambush.
After travelling to the nearby city of Amasya, Erdogan blamed separatists.
These vile hands, these dark minds that do not believe in democratic struggle, these terrorists, these separatist forces that know they cannot win at the ballot think they will reach their ends through such attacks, he told Justice and Development (AK) party members.
We will not let anyone divide this land. My mighty nation will never yield to bandits.
Just prior to the attack in Kastamonou, thousands of Kurds assembled in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir to attend a funeral of PKK guerrillas who died in a clash with Turkish state security forces in the province of Tunceli last week.
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Kurdish separatist group (which has been labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States) ended a six-month ceasefire in February. PKK has been fighting against the Turkish state to establish an independent homeland in the heavily Kurdish southeastern part of the country for almost the past three decades.
The insurgency has killed at least 40,000 lives.
However, Turkey has also grappled with violent Islamist and Communist political groups as well.
Currently, polls suggest that the Turkish elections will grant Erdogan a third straight term in office.