ANKARA, Turkey – A bomb exploded Sunday in a popular resort town on Turkey’s Aegean coast, wounding about 20 people, including two foreign tourists, authorities said.
The explosives were stashed in a soda bottle that was placed in a garbage can near a bank in downtown Cesme, a popular destination for tourists and wind surfers on Turkey’s west coast, police said.
Nobody claimed responsibility for the afternoon explosion. Kurdish rebels, Islamic and leftist militants have been known to plant bombs in garbage cans in several attacks in Turkey.
A Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons Organization, which said it was behind a similar attack in the Aegean resort town of Kusadasi in April, had warned European tourists not to go to Turkey.
Hospital officials said about 20 people were wounded in the blast. Governor Yusuf Ziya Goksu of Izmir said they included two foreign tourists. The Anatolia news agency also reported that a British and a Russian tourist were among the injured.
“A fragmentation bomb caused the explosion,” Goksu told reporters. “Everything is under control now, authorities are continuing the investigation.”
Medical teams from Izmir were dispatched to help out in Cesme and bomb squads cordoned off the area where the explosion occurred.
On April 30, one police officer was killed and two others wounded in a bomb attack in Kusadasi. The town also was the scene of a 1993 bomb attack by Kurdish rebels which wounded 18 people, including six foreigners.
Guerillas of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, have battled government forces in a conflict that has killed more than 37,000 people since 1984 in southeastern Turkey.
Fighting in the region tapered off after a rebel truce in 1999, which followed the capture of rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan. But there has been a surge in violence since June 1, 2004, when the rebels declared an end to the cease-fire, saying Turkey had not responded in kind.
The rebels recently threatened to spread the war across Turkey.
The guerrilla group, considered as a terrorist organization by the United States and the
European Union, has also threatened to target Turkey’s lucrative tourism industry, accusing Turkey of using tourism revenues to support its military drive against the guerrillas.