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Massive blast rocks Diyarbakir


Turkey

Massive blast rocks Diyarbakir

One person has been killed and several wounded in an explosion in a police compound in Turkey’s southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

Diyarbakir’s governor said the blast happened while an armoured vehicle was being repaired.

A large plume of smoke could be seen billowing over surrounding buildings and a crater has been left in the ground.

What has Turkey’s Interior Minister said?

Suleyman Soylu said the explosion appears to have been an accident.

“The blast was in a part of the building for riot police, where maintenance is carried out on vehicles,” Soylu is quoted by media as saying during a speech in Istanbul.

“At the moment, it seems there is no outside interference and the explosion came from the vehicle under repair,” he added.

Diyarbakir

The city is the largest in Turkey’s southeast.

Kurdish PKK militants have fought an insurgency for more than three decades to press demands for Kurdish autonomy.

Violence has flared since a ceasefire collapsed in July 2015.

The context

The explosion came ahead of a hotly contested referendum on Sunday aimed at broadening President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.

The constitutional change is opposed by many in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast.

The blast was in the central, largely residential district of Baglar, where a car bombing by suspected PKK militants wounded scores of people last November.