Blasts outside Turkish ministry, party office before ceasefire

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 19, 2013 5:27 PM
Blasts outside Turkish ministry, party office before ceasefire

ANKARA (Reuters) - Two devices exploded outside Turkey's justice ministry and offices of the ruling AK Party in the capital Ankara on Tuesday, days ahead of an expected ceasefire with Kurdish militants.

Turkish television stations showed footage of police cordoning off streets and ambulances arriving. CNN Turk said at least two people were wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The explosions occurred two days ahead of an expected ceasefire call by jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, who has been in talks with state officials to try to end a three-decade conflict that has killed some 40,000 people.

"Our decisiveness will continue," AK Party spokesman Huseyn Celik told a hastily assembled news conference. "Such turbulence cannot push us from our path."

The ceasefire call, expected to coincide with the Kurdish New Year on Thursday, could also include a command to Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants to withdraw from Turkey to their bases in northern Iraq.

Ocalan began talks with state officials last October. Truces have been agreed and failed before in the war.

The PKK, deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union, originally demanded full independence for a Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, but has moderated its goals to broader political and cultural autonomy.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has made a number of concessions on cultural and language rights as part of his efforts to forge a settlement.

(This story corrects to justice not foreign ministry)

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Michael Roddy)