Kurdish militants kill two ruling party officials in southeast Turkey – minister

Soldiers carry the coffin of army officer Lt. Murat Taylan Oncel, 33, killed in a mortar attack Monday by Kurdish militants in Silvan, Diyarbakir, Turkey at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. Kurdish militants detonated a car bomb Sunday outside a military checkpoint in southeast Turkey, killing ten soldiers and eight civilians, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Kurdish militants shot and killed two officials from the ruling AK Party in southeast Turkey over the weekend, Turkish authorities said.

Orhan Mercan, the AKP’s deputy head in the Lice district of Diyarbakir province, was shot in front of his home on Friday night and died of his wounds in hospital, the provincial governor’s office said.

Militants killed Aydin Ahi, deputy head of the AKP in the Ozalp district of Van province on Saturday night, the governor’s office said. Security sources said the gunmen seized Ahi from his home at gunpoint and killed him nearby.

Energy Minister Berat Albayrak wrote on Twitter that Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants had killed both men.

There was no immediate comment on the attacks from the PKK, but the group has targeted officials from the party in the past.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed in the conflict. It is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

A ceasefire between the Turkish state and the militants broke down in July 2015 and the southeast subsequently saw some of the worst violence since the insurgency began.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Andrew Heavens)