A Kurdish terror group discouraged tourists from visiting Turkey after it claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack in Istanbul. File Photo by Ali Turkel/UPI | License Photo
ISTANBUL, Turkey, June 10 (UPI) -- A Kurdish rebel group affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack carried out earlier this week in Istanbul, leaving at least 11 dead.
The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks, also identified as TAK, carried the June 7 suicide bomb attack in an effort to target local security forces. Six of the 11 dead were police officers.
TAK issued a statement warning foreign tourists of future attacks.
"We warn all tourists who might plan to visit Turkey," a statement from the group said, according to The Washington Post. "You are not our targets, but Turkey is no [longer] secure for you."
This week's attack occurred during the morning rush hour near Istanbul's tourist-friendly Beyazit Square. It is one attack in a growing trend of violence in the country carried out by Kurdish militants amid the civil war taking place in neighboring Syria.
Reports said a female suicide bomber was behind the attack, and was seen with the alleged organizer shortly before the explosion. The Hurriyet Daily News reported the suspect arrived in the capital city 20 days before the attack. Using a rented car laden with plastic explosives, she allegedly maneuvered the vehicle nearby police vehicles before detonating.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack after visiting the injured in the hospital.
"Let me be clear, terrorist organizations distinguishing between civilians, solders and police does not mean anything to us. The end target is always human beings," he said.
"The mission of our soldiers, our police and our city guards is to protect our lives and our property. It is unacceptable that these people are targeted. We will continue our fight against terrorism fearlessly."