2 ministers quit Turkish government amid heightened tension

AP News
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Posted: Sep 22, 2015 3:08 PM

ISTANBUL (AP) — Two ministers from Turkey's pro-Kurdish party resigned on Tuesday from the interim government, accusing top officials of making it impossible for them to do their jobs amid a flare-up of violence between Kurdish rebels and the military.

Minister for EU Affairs Ali Haydar Konca and Development Minister Muslum Dogan - members of the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party, or HDP, told journalists they were stepping down because the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, interfered with their work.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus denied the allegations. The government later announced that academic Beril Dedeoglu had been picked to replace Konca and that engineer Cuneyd Duzyol would replace Dogan.

The HDP, which grew out of the Kurdish nationalist movement, won an unusually high share of the vote in last June's election after broadening its appeal to attract leftist and liberal votes from across Turkey. Dogan and Konca were the first two legislators from the party to take ministerial posts in what was widely seen as a hopeful development in Turkey's fraught relationship with its Kurdish minority.

But relations have soured amid renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkey's military and a failure of any of the parties to strike a coalition agreement, which has led to a new election being called for Nov. 1.

Also Tuesday, Turkey's military said that 24 soldiers had been wounded in two overnight explosions in the eastern province of Van.

In a brief statement posted to the military's website Tuesday, it said the blasts occurred within a few hours of each other but gave few details.

The Anadolu Agency earlier reported that the first explosion involved an improvised bomb which allegedly was remotely detonated by rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, as a military convoy was driving down the highway late Monday.