Since the collapse of a two-year ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdish rebels in 2015, there have been almost daily attacks with no let-up since the July 15 attempted coup tried to remove President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power
Istanbul (AFP) - Turkish authorities on Saturday said they had foiled a plot to blow up the deputy chairman of the ruling party with hundreds of kilos of explosives buried under a graveyard close to his family cemetery plot.
The governorate in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir said that 640 kilos (1,410 pounds) of explosives had been discovered at five different points in the cemetery in the Bismil district close to the grave of the mother of Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chairman Mehdi Eker.
Reports said that Eker was preparing to travel to the cemetery on Sunday for a customary annual visit to pay his respects to deceased relatives ahead of the Eid al-Adha Islamic holiday.
"The assessment is that an assassination attempt was planned during his customary visit to the tomb during the Eid," said a Turkish official, who asked not to be named.
Eker, a former minister of agriculture who is from the Diyarbakir region, is one of the most prominent members of Turkey's Kurdish minority in the AKP elite.
He told NTV television he had been making the cemetery visit for 30 years and at least 100 people were planning to join him on Sunday.
"This was a plan for a big massacre," he said.
"This was not an assassination attempt against a single person. Along with me, over 100 people would be targeted," he said, insisting he would still go ahead with the cemetery visit.
Reports and officials did not specify what group could have been behind the plot.
The region of Diyarbakir is the scene of frequent attacks by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has waged a three decade armed struggle against the Turkish state.
Eker had also just returned to Turkey after leading a delegation of Turkish lawmakers to Washington to press for the extradition of the preacher Fethullah Gulen who is blamed for the July 15 failed coup.
Turkey accuses Gulen of running a "terror group" working to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The reclusive preacher denies the charges.