In two separate cities in Turkey today, car bombs exploded nearby police stations, killing six people and injuring 219. The first attack took place in Van, a city in East Turkey, where one police officer was killed alongside two civilians. At least 73 people were also injured during that attack. Only hours later, another police station in Elazig was targeted, claiming the lives of three police officers. That incident also wounded 146 people.

Officials in Ankara have blamed the attack on the PKK, a Kurdish militant group with whom the government has been in conflict with since the late 1970s. Following the disintegration of last year’s ceasefire between the Turkish military and the PKK, Kurdish militants have been repeatedly targeting police stations and government outposts throughout Turkey.

The car bombs were big enough to uproot trees and blow out the windows of nearby cars, television footage showed. Plumes of smoke could be seen rising up from the destroyed police station in Elazig. Just last week, alleged PKK militants carried out two attacks on police vehicles in Diyarbakir and Kiziltepe. Eight people were killed during those assaults.

In July, a failed coup against the Turkish government sparked marches aimed at national unity. Turkish authorities claim, however, that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HPD) is barring such unity by supporting the PKK. HPD officials have denied any connections to the Kurdish militants.

The two incidents of twin bombings in south-east Turkey are considered the worst outbreak of violence in the region in over 20 years. The bombing in Kiziltepe last week was done via remote control detonation and took place near a hospital. Not long before that, four Turkish soldiers were killed after PKK militants shot rockets and other long-range weapons into the Sirnak province from across the Iraqi border.

Recently, an interview was done with Cemil Bayik, the commander of the PKK forces, who said that the Kurdish group had developed “a new style of war” against Turkey. “The war will from now on be conducted everywhere without distinguishing between mountains, valleys and cities,” the Firat news agency quoted him as saying.

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