Iranian officials have issued an advisory against land trips to neighboring Turkey following a recent attack on an Iranian bus that killed one and injured three others.
“Given certain recent activities and insecurity in Turkey’s east, the Foreign Ministry advises our respected citizens planning to travel to Turkey to avoid land routes until further notice and to use air routes if possible,” a short statement on the website of Iran’s Foreign Ministry read on Saturday.
According to Turkish news outlets, an Iranian bus came under a shooting attack by suspected militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, commonly known as the PKK, as it was traveling on the highway linking Dogubayazit in Turkey’s Agri Province to Caldiran in Van Province on Friday.
The driver of the bus later died of injuries he sustained to his head while three passengers were wounded. A Turkish security officer was also killed in a clash that ensued.
A senior official in Iran’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization also said people have been advised against traveling to Turkey on land.
“Following the attack by armed assailants on the Iranian bus yesterday, passenger and cargo transportation companies were given a notice to avoid unnecessary trips to Turkey,” said Mohammad Javad Atrchian, adding that the travel companies have been instructed to observe security measures and, if possible, travel during the daylight.
Atrchian added that Iranian officials are waiting for an official response from Turkey over the Friday attack, adding that the Iranian Foreign Ministry is pursuing the case.
He said the three passengers on board the bus who were injured in the attack were immediately returned to Iran while legal work is underway to transfer the body of the slain driver.
An image carried by the Turkish Anadolu news agency on Friday showed the bus with the Iranian license plate, with its combination number showing that it was registered in the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan.
Turkish officials have previously blamed the PKK for two bombing attacks on Iranian trains traveling in Turkey in July.
Turkey and the PKK have been engaged in renewed hostility more than two weeks after Ankara began airstrikes on the positions of the group in northern Iraq. PKK has responded by declaring its peace negotiations with the government as “dead and meaningless.”