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Massive blast rocks Diyarbakir

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Massive blast rocks Diyarbakir

<p>One person has been killed and several wounded in an explosion in a police compound in Turkey’s southeastern city of Diyarbakir.</p> <p>Diyarbakir’s governor said the blast happened while an armoured vehicle was being repaired. </p> <p>A large plume of smoke could be seen billowing over surrounding buildings and a crater has been left in the ground.</p> <h3><strong>What has Turkey’s Interior Minister said?</strong></h3> <p>Suleyman Soylu said the explosion appears to have been an accident.</p> <p>“The blast was in a part of the building for riot police, where maintenance is carried out on vehicles,” <strong>Soylu</strong> is quoted by media as saying during a speech in Istanbul.</p> <p>“At the moment, it seems there is no outside interference and the explosion came from the vehicle under repair,” he added.</p> <h3><strong>Diyarbakir</strong></h3> <p>The city is the largest in Turkey’s southeast.</p> <p>Kurdish <span class="caps">PKK</span> militants have fought an insurgency for more than three decades to press demands for Kurdish autonomy.</p> <p>Violence has flared since a ceasefire collapsed in July 2015. </p> <h3><strong>The context</strong></h3> <p>The explosion came ahead of a hotly contested referendum on Sunday aimed at broadening President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.</p> <p>The constitutional change is opposed by many in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast.</p> <p>The blast was in the central, largely residential district of Baglar, where a car bombing by suspected <span class="caps">PKK</span> militants wounded scores of people last November.</p>