Turkey detains three over police killings
Turkish security forces on Thursday detained three suspects over the killing of two police claimed by Kurdish militants as revenge for a deadly suicide bombing blamed on jihadists.
The arrests came as the two police - who were shot dead early Wednesday while sleeping in their shared home in a town on the Syrian border - were laid to rest in an emotional funeral ceremony. The state Anatolia news agency said the three suspects had been arrested in early morning raids and were being questioned, without giving further details.
The military wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) had claimed the killing of the police in the town of Ceylanpinar, accusing the two slain officers of collaborating with Islamic State (IS) extremists. It described the attack as revenge for a suicide bombing in the mainly Kurdish town of Suruc on Monday blamed on IS jihadists that left 32 people dead.
The two police, aged 24 and 25, were given a funeral ceremony with full honours outside police headquarters in the regional centre of Sanliurfa, their coffins draped in the Turkish flag. After the ceremony attended by fellow police officers and their grieving families, the coffins were sent to their home regions for burial.
"The martyrs never die, the people will never be divided," dozens of police chanted, using a well known patriotic slogan. "We will continue until the end of our battle even if we die," said local police chief Eyup Pinarbasi. "The blood of our martyrs will not be left without a response."
Turkish officials have confirmed a 20-year-old Turkish man linked to IS militants carried out the suicide bombing in Suruc. Kurds have become increasingly frustrated with the government's refusal to support Kurdish groups fighting IS jihadists inside the country. There have been tense demonstrations in Istanbul and other cities in Turkey over the last days over the government's Syria policy, with police frequently intervening with water cannons and tear gas.
Kurdish separatists in Turkey waged a decades-long insurgency for self-rule in the southeast that claimed tens of thousands of lives but declared a truce in 2013 that now looks increasingly fragile. The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has called for a major "rally for peace" on Sunday afternoon in Istanbul to condemn the Suruc attack.