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Protesters raid pro-Kurdish HDP office after deadly bombing in Kayseri

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People protest in front of the offices of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the central Turkish city of Kayseri, following a deadly car bombing on December 17, 2016. (Photo by Dogan news agency)

Dozens of angry Turkish protesters have stormed the headquarters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the aftermath of a car bomb attack in the country’s central province of Kayseri, which left more than a dozen soldiers dead and many more injured.

On Saturday, the protesters broke into the building in the provincial capital city of Kayseri, battering doors down, scattering papers, throwing furniture into the street and removing the HDP sign from the entrance.

Some of the demonstrators then climbed to the top of the building, set off a fire and furled down a flag of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The development came after senior Turkish officials blamed the Saturday car bomb, which killed 13 soldiers and wounded 56 others, on Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants.

“The style and goals of the attacks clearly show the aim of the separatist terrorist organization is to trip up Turkey, cut its strength and have it focus its energy and forces elsewhere,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo by Anadolu news agency)   

He added, “The terror attacks in Turkey are not separate from what is happening in the region, especially Syria and Iraq.”

Later, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told nationwide NTV television news network that all signs point towards PKK’s involvement in Saturday’s terror attack in Kayseri.

Kurtulmus said the bombing bore great similarity to last week’s twin bombings in Istanbul, which claimed 44 lives and left 155 others wounded.

A total of 36 police officers were among those killed in the Istanbul blasts. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a PKK splinter group, later claimed responsibility for the deadly blasts.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus (Photo by Anadolu news agency)

The Turkish deputy prime minister described the car bomb attack in Kayseri as an act of “revenge” by PKK militants.

Seven suspects detained following Kayseri attack

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said seven suspects had been held in connection with the Saturday bombing, adding that a search operation was underway for five others.

A shaky ceasefire between the PKK, which has been calling for an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984, and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against the PKK positions in the country’s troubled southeastern border region as well as northern Iraq and Syria.

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