A blast rocked the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir following the arrest of pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) leaders.
Joint HDP leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag were arrested along with at least nine other opposition MPs for disseminating propaganda for Kurdish militants battling the Turkish state.
Hours after the arrests, a car bomb was detonated in the south eastern Turkish city killing eight people and injuring more than 100.
The Turkish government has blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish militant group that has been fighting for an independent Kurdish state since the 1970s. A ceasefire between the Turkish state and the PKK broke down in 2015, and the last few months has seen a series of tit-for-tat attacks.
Ankara claims that those arrested had failed to respond to a summons for questioning about links to the PKK and also issued arrest warrants for two HDP MPs currently travelling abroad.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said:
“They did not respect the law.”
The HDP denies any links to the PKK and has previously condemned bomb attacks by the group.
Turkey remains under a state of emergency in the wake of the failed military coup in July. The draconian laws have allowed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to bypass parliament to arrest thousands of people across the country who he accuses of supporting opposition groups.