Turkish Opposition Leader Unharmed After Convoy Caught in Clash

Kemal Kilicdaroglu was traveling in the country's northeast when shots were exchanged between the police and an unidentified party.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Republican People's Party, waves to the crowd during a Democracy and Martyrs' Rally in Istanbul, August 7, 2016.
Emrah Gurel, AP

REUTERS - Turkey's outlawed Kurdish PKK militant group attacked a convoy of the main opposition party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, while he was travelling in the northeast of the country on Thursday but he escaped unharmed, the interior minister said.

Minister Efkan Ala also told Turkey's NTV news channel that three soldiers were injured in the exchange of fire and an operation had been launched to pursue the attackers who he said were from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The government has accused the PKK of a series of attacks this month in the southeast of Turkey, where the group has fought a three-decade insurgency.

The PKK have claimed responsibility for at least one of those attacks, which involved a strike on a police station.

There was no immediate PKK comment on Thursday's incident.

NTV and CNN Turk broadcast images of police firing at the alleged attackers along a road near the city of Artvin.

"Don't worry about us. We are ok. We are currently in a safe area," Kilicdaroglu told Turkey's NTV channel.

Officials in his secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), writing on Twitter, also said their leader's convoy had been targetted in the attack.

A Turkish official said President Tayyip Erdogan and the prime minister had been briefed by the local governor about the incident.

Typically, even convoys of top opposition figures are accompanied by a police escort in Turkey, which has faced a series of bombing and other attacks in the past year, raising tensions in a nation with a long border with Syria and Iraq.