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Turkey alleges US complicity in deadly Istanbul bombing, rejects condolence statement

The Hill logo The Hill 11/14/2022 Brad Dress
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Turkey’s interior minister accused the U.S. of being complicit in a recent bombing in the city of Istanbul on Sunday that left at least six people dead and dozens of others injured.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu rejected a statement of condolence from the U.S. during a press conference with reporters near the scene of the attack after authorities arrested a Syrian woman with suspected ties to Kurdish militants.

“I emphasize once again that we do not accept, and reject the condolences of the U.S. Embassy,” Soylu said, according to Turkish state media publication Anadolu Agency.

The interior minister said the U.S. statement of condolence was like “a killer being first to show up at a crime scene.”

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey tweeted Sunday that it was “deeply saddened” by the explosion, adding, “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wish a speedy recovery for the injured.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also tweeted on Sunday that the U.S. “condemns the act of violence that took place today in Istanbul.”

“Our thoughts are with those who were injured and our deepest condolences go to those who lost loved ones,” the statement read. “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO Ally Turkiye in countering terrorism.”

The bomb on Sunday exploded on Istiklal Avenue, a popular shopping thoroughfare. Turkish authorities arrested a Syrian woman who police said was connected to Kurdish militants and confessed to planting the bomb.

Authorities said instructions for the attack came from Kobani, a Syrian city that borders Turkey.

No groups have claimed responsibility for the attack, though Turkish officials have blamed Kurdish militants.

Ankara considers the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a terrorist group, as does Washington. The PKK is a militant group that has fought against the Turkish government for political and cultural rights.

However, Washington and Ankara diverge over support for Syrian Kurds. The U.S. has supported the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in fighting the Islamic State.

The SDF and the PKK have both denied involvement in the attack in Istanbul.

Soylu on Monday said whoever gave the attackers information was culpable, according to state media.

The interior minister promised to “pay back heavily” those who carried out the attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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