Two AK Party officials died at the hands of Kurdish militants over the weekend, Turkey's official news agency confirmed. Sources report the victims to be Orhan Mercan, vice president of an AKP branch in the southeastern Diyarbakir province, and Aydin Ahi, vice president of a party branch in the eastern province of Van.

News of the two Ruling Party officials shot and killed comes from the Anadolu news agency, Ynetnews.com reveals. Mercan was reportedly taken by the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK from his home and shot nearby last Friday. According to the provincial governor's office, the AKP deputy head in the Lice district died of his wounds on Saturday after being taken to a hospital.

Ahi, the deputy head of the AKP in the Ozalp district, on the other hand, had been killed late Saturday night. Sources reveal that Ahi had been seized from his home at gunpoint and killed in a nearby location.

Militants to blame

The revelation that Kurdish militants are to blame for the killings comes from Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who shared the information on Twitter.

Kurdish militants have targeted members of the AK Party in the past. The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by the European Union, United States, and Turkey, Reuters reports. In 1984, the terrorist group launched a separatist insurgency against the state, which resulted in the death of more than 40,000 people. Most of the victims had been Kurds. US President Donald Trump had previously expressed support for the Kurd army.

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In July 2015, the cease-fire between the militants and the Turkish state broke down, restarting a conflict that had spanned over three decades. The insurgency resulted in "some of the worst violence" in the southeast region of Turkey, where the PKK is reportedly strongest.

Government response

In response to the deaths of Mercan and Ahi, Turkey saw violence flaring up on Sunday, Reuters reports. The Turkish military has killed over a dozen militants in air strikes, according to state authorities.

A general staff statement revealed that an air strike in Maradin left five militants dead. The militants were allegedly preparing for an attack on the army base. Another air strike, in the Bingol province, also killed five PKK fighters. Four militants were also killed in the Metina region, off northern Iraq.

Separate clashes were also reported in Diyarbakir, Hakkari, and Sirnak, Reuters adds. Turkey, which had recently voted for constitutional changes favoring a presidential system, is on high alert, planning counter attacks to safeguard the country's citizens.