*UPDATES WITH TURKEY’S PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT
HAKKARI, Turkey (AA) - An explosives-laden vehicle was detonated outside a gendarmerie station in southeast Turkey on Sunday, killing 18 people.
Following the attack at around 9.45 a.m. local time (0645GMT) in Semdinli, Hakkari province, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said eight civilians died and 10 soldiers were martyred.
“A pick-up made a suicide rush with five tons of explosives in it,” he said at a news conference in Istanbul.
In a statement, the Turkish General Staff blamed the attack on the PKK terrorist organization. Hakkari province, which borders Iraq and Iran, has seen a large number of PKK attacks since the group resumed its armed campaign in July last year.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a statement on Sunday to condemn the deadly terror attack.
“Our state with all its institutions and its nation are committed to incapacitate the separatist terrorist organization’s action,” said Erdogan.
“We are committed to take any political, diplomatic, military measures for the survival of our state and our nation both domestically and abroad,” he added.
The military said 16 gendarmes were wounded. The number of civilians injured was unclear but a group of people waiting at a nearby bus stop are thought to have been caught in the attack.
The blast occurred at a checkpoint in front of Durak gendarmerie outpost, which is around 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the Semdinli town center.
The casualties were taken to nearby hospitals and an air and land operation was launched to hunt the terrorists.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU. Since it resumed its decades-old armed campaign, PKK terror attacks martyred more than 600 security personnel and claimed lives of many civilians including women and children while around 7,000 terrorists were killed in army operations.