Britons hurt in Turkish bomb blasts

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A BRITISH tourist suffered serious head injuries and seven others received lesser wounds in a spate of bomb attacks at Turkish coastal resorts yesterday.

Joanna Griffiths, whose mother was also among the casualties, was reported to be undergoing brain surgery last night. Three members of another British family were injured in one of two explosions in the town of Marmaris. They were identified as Jimmy and Sylvia Metz and their daughter Anthea, from Thornaby, Cleveland.

Kurdish guerrillas claimed responsibility for a bomb that injured three British tourists and eight other people at a harbourside tea garden in the southern resort of Fethiye.

The British embassy in Ankara named two of the Britons as Estelle and Richard Broom, a married couple. Turkish police identified the third as Derek Bartel.

'They were injured by debris but they're all right,' said the British vice-consul. The other victims included three Germans and an Austrian and four Turks.

The Kurd-A news agency in Germany, which reflects the views of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels, said that it had received calls from 'Kurdish patriots' claiming to have carried out the bombing.

Kurdish organisations close to the PKK have claimed responsibility for several attacks on foreign tourists in the past year in Istanbul and on the Mediterranean coast, killing two tourists and injuring several. PKK spokesmen have repeatedly warned tourists not to travel to Turkey on the grounds that it is a war zone and that tourist revenues go towards paying for the Turkish army in its 10-year war against the Marxist rebel guerrilla army.

The threat of terrorism may pose a risk of injury considerably less than that of travelling on Turkish roads, but Turkish operators expect 20 per cent less tourists than last year. Britain does not warn against travel to the main resort areas of Turkey, but it advises against travel to Mount Ararat, Lake Van and other parts of the south-east and east, where the PKK has kidnapped tourists.

Turkish tourism has been badly hit, even if, unlike Egypt, whose package tourism industry was crippled by Islamic radical terrorism, it does not rely so completely on the fickle Europeans and Americans. The PKK are calling for unconditional talks to end the fighting and their threats against foreigners.