Turkish official accuses US of complicity in deadly bombings: ‘The killer is one of the first to return’

Turkey has claimed that the US is complicit in the deadly bomb attack that took place in Istanbul earlier this week.

Turkish authorities arrested a woman on Monday they link to the bombing. They determined she had entered the country from Syria on orders from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, but the groups have denied involvement.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu accused the US of complicity in the attack because of a longstanding collaboration between Washington and Kurdish militias in Syria, according to The New York Times.

When asked about condolences from the US, Soylu said “the killer is one of the first to return to the scene”.

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Sunday’s explosion took place on Istiklal Avenue, a popular thoroughfare lined with shops and restaurants leading to Taksim Square. Six people died and 81 others were hospitalized after the attack.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks at a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2019.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks at a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2019.
(Ahmet Bolat/Pool via Reuters/File Photo)

The six killed in the blast were members of three families, including two girls aged 9 and 15.

Istanbul police said videos from about 1,200 security cameras were viewed and raids were made at 21 locations. At least 46 other people were also held for questioning.

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“Turkey continues with determination in its fight against terrorism,” said independent news website T24. “No terrorist organization will succeed in plotting against Turkey.”

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu talks with shopkeepers during his visit to the Istiklal Avenue blast site in Istanbul, Turkey, November 14, 2022.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu talks with shopkeepers during his visit to the Istiklal Avenue blast site in Istanbul, Turkey, November 14, 2022.
(Reuters/Dilara Senkaya)

Police arrested the suspect, who reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack and told officers she had been trained as a “special intelligence officer” by both the PPK and the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party.

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The group said its people “and the democratic public” know they were not involved in the incident, saying the PKK “will not directly target civilians”.

People leave the area after an explosion on the popular pedestrian street Istiklal Avenue Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, November 13, 2022.

People leave the area after an explosion on the popular pedestrian street Istiklal Avenue Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, November 13, 2022.
(Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP)

Turkey and Washington have long considered the PKK a terrorist organization, but they differ on the status of Syrian Kurdish groups, which the US has worked with as part of its efforts to fight the Islamic State in Syria.

Turkey has previously accused the US of helping the PKK indirectly, such as in 2016 when weapons supplied to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, ended up in the hands of the PKK.

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The US said at the time that such weapons were not intended for the PKK and had no idea that the weapons had ended up in the group’s possession.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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