Riot police walk during a pro-Kurdish gathering in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir on August 31, 2016. © Reuters
Turkish officials say they have thwarted an assassination attempt against the deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) party.
The governorate in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir said on Saturday that security forces had foiled a terror plot to blow up the AKP senior official, Mehdi Eker, with 640 kilos (1,410 pounds) of explosives.
The governorate added that the explosives had been buried and discovered at five different locations in a graveyard in Bismil district close to the resting place of Eker’s mother.
Eker, who is from the Diyarbakir region and one of the most prominent members of Turkey's Kurdish minority in the AKP party, was reportedly planning to pay an annual visit to the cemetery on Sunday.
He told Turkish TV channel NTV that he had been making the cemetery visit for 30 years and that at least 100 people were planning to accompany him.
There were no immediate official reports on who or what group may have been behind the plot. However, Turkish media accused the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of planning the attack.
Diyarbakir is a flashpoint for attacks by the PKK, which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in the country's southeast since 1984.
Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale anti-PKK campaign in its southern border region over the past few months. The Turkish military has also been pounding the group’s positions in northern Iraq as well in breach of the Arab country’s sovereignty.
A shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 was declared null and void by the militants following the Turkish strikes against the group.
More than 600 Turkish security forces and over 7,000 PKK militants have been killed since the collapse of the truce, according to the latest toll provided by Anadolu news agency in July.

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