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AUGUST 4, 2005

More bombs in Turkey

Two people were killed last night when a bomb exploded in Pendik, a town to the east of Istanbul, about seven miles from the new Formula 1 circuit. The blast followed the recent trend of bombs in the country, being hidden in a garbage bin. Earlier in the week there were two smaller bombs in the Aegean resort of Antalya. The Turkish authorities suspect that the bombs are the work of the Kurdish group PKK, which is trying to disrupt the country's tourist industry. Tourism is now Turkey's second biggest source of revenue with more than 13m visitors a year.

The current wave of attacks are small in scale but there is little doubt that in the circumstances the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix - designed to bring more tourists to Turkey - must be viewed as a potential target.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office says that there is "a high threat of terrorism in Turkey" and warns that "further attacks in tourist areas could well occur". The FCO lists six attacks since July 1, including the shooting of a suicide bomber at the Ministry of Justice in Ankara on July 1. A small bomb exploded at a downtown restaurant in Istanbul on July 23.

The country will be watching closely in the next few weeks as the World Student Games will be taking place in Izmir between August 11-21.

The good news for F1 fans is that a series of canisters filled with explosives that were discovered near the circuit recently had been left behind by contractors, who had been using them to blast out rock at the site.