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Two Turkish Soldiers Killed in Car Bomb Blast as Government Airstrikes on Kurdish Rebels Continue

The attack is the latest violence to strike Turkey since Ankara ended a truce with Kurdish PKK seperatists by bombing their positions in northern Iraq.
August 2, 2015, 3:55pm
Photo by Ulas Yunus Tosun/EPA

A car bomb blast killed two Turkish soldiers Sunday and injured at least 31 others as violence escalated between the Turkish government and the Kurdish population inside and outside Turkey.

At least two tons of explosives were used to attack a military police station near the town of Dogubayazit in eastern Turkey. Turkish authorities blamed the attack  on the Kurdistan Worker's Party or PKK, according to the Associated Press. The explosives were detonated in an agricultural vehicle near the police station, leading to widespread damage to the building.  At least four other injured officers were in seirous condition, the military told the AP.

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Violence has flared up in Turkey in recent weeks as the government has cracked down on the PKK. This month the Turkey government began daily airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq, initially as part of joint-airstrikes with the US to attack Islamic State.  Islamic State militants have also targeted Turkish soldiers along Turkey's border with Syria.

Related: From Grief Over Kobane to Chaos: Istanbuls' Kurdish Riots

Another separate attack led to the death of a Turkish soldier after he reportedly drove over a land mine in the southeastern Marine province. The new violence threatens to permanently shatter the fragile 2012 peace accord between the Turks and the PKK. At least 24 people, mostly soldiers, have been killed in recent violence, according to the AP.

The attacks come as the Istanbul neighborhood of Gazi, which has a large Kurdish population, continues to see violent near daily-protests between police and residents. Protesters have set up barricades and thrown molotov cocktails and rocks as police in armored vehicles respond with water cannons and tear gas. Earlier this week a Turkish police officer was killed during the protests, according to the

Related: Turkey Accused Of Shelling Syrian Kurds as Fatal Protests Break Out in Istanbul

In Iraq, the Kurdish rebels are facing harsh criticism from those inside the country as well as continued attacks by the Turkish. This week the Kurdish President Massoud Barzani released a statement calling for the PKK to withdraw from the Iraq to protect the lives of citizens, saying the PKK, "should withdraw its fighters from the Kurdish region so to ensure the civilians of Kurdistan don't become victim of that fighting and conflict."

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He also condemned Turkey for attacking civilians.

"We condemn the bombing, which led to the martyrdom of the citizens of the Kurdish region, and we call on Turkey to not to repeat the bombing of civilians," Barzani said in the statement, which also called for continued peace talks.

Turkey's official news agency, Anatolia, reported that 260 Kurdish rebels had been killed since the airstrikes began earlier this month.

"For the peace and security of our people, the fight against terror organizations will continue without interruption," the office of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a statement, according to the AFP.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.