A car bomb explosion in Turkey has killed at least 8 people and wounded 50, according to reports from Turkish media.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast in Gaziantep, near the Syrian border. Kurdish militants are active in the area, and the fight between Turkish security forces and Kurdish rebels, who seek autonomy in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast, has intensified in recent weeks.
Television footage showed firefighters attempting to douse a fierce blaze that gutted several vehicles. Medics assisted a wounded person on a stretcher, and ambulance sirens wailed as bystanders gathered to survey the wreckage.
Eyewitnesses say a man was seen running away from a parked car outside a police station minutes before the blast.
The car bomb was remote-controlled, Gaziantep’s Gov. Erdal Ata told Turkey’s Dogan News Agency, according to Reuters.
Police officers were among the wounded, the agency reported.
NTV television said eight people died and as many as 50 were wounded.
The blast comes at a delicate time for the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which is providing refuge to tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled the civil war in their country, and is seeking, along with its Western and Arab allies, the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Within its borders, the Turkish state has granted more cultural rights to Kurds as a means of easing the long-running conflict with a significant portion of the ethnic minority, but there is still a great deal of distrust between Ankara and many Kurds.
The Kurdish rebel group PKK operates from bases in the mountains of northern Iraq, and Turkish jets have periodically conducted bombing raids there.
Last week, a Turkish lawmaker was freed by his Kurdish rebel captors. Huseyin Aygun, a member of parliament from the main opposition party, was kidnapped at a roadblock while touring his precinct in the southeastern province of Tunceli.
While rebels have previously kidnapped soldiers, local politicians and tourists, it was the first abduction of a parliament member by the rebels. It came days after the government claimed troops had killed as many as 115 rebels in clashes and ahead of the 28th anniversary of the rebels' first armed attack on Aug. 15, 1984.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.