UPDATE: At least 22 people have been killed and 94 others wounded in an apparent ISIS terror attack in Turkey, the southern city of Gaziantep. Read the full updated article.
ORIGINAL STORY: At least 8 people have been killed and 60 others wounded in an apparent terror attack in the southern city of Gaziantep, Reuters reported on Saturday. A member of Turkey’s parliament has said the attack, which took place at a wedding hall, was believed to have been carried out by ISIS.
Turkey, a member of the NATO alliance, has been the victim of a string of attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the Islamo-leftist group known as PKK. The Kurdish militants, which began fighting for autonomy and independence in southeast Turkey in 1984, is labeled by the government and its allies as a terrorist organization.
Earlier this week, two car bombs targeting police stations killed at least six people and wounded at least 219 others. Last month, the country was nearly torn apart by an attempted coup by a small rogue element within the military trying to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turkish military has always seen itself as a protector of the secular constitution, but President Erdoğan claims the coup was plotted and supported by a former ally, the exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.
But even as the country moves further toward hardline Islamism under the current president, they still have been plagued by Islamic extremism.
Three suspected Islamic State suicide bombers killed 44 people at Istanbul’s main airport in July, marking the deadliest in a string of attacks in Turkey this year. Anadolu Agency, a state-run news agency in Turkey, cited Gaziantep Governor Ali Yerlikaya as saying Saturday’s explosion was a “terror attack.”