ISTANBUL — Twin car bombs in a Turkish town near the Syrian border have killed at least 40 people and wounded more than 100 others, and top Turkish officials are pointing fingers at the Syrian government.
Turkey's interior minister, Muammar Guler, said car bombs went off in the town of Reyhanli, just a few kilometers from a Syrian border crossing. Massive explosions devastated nearby buiildings, and ambulances rushed to the site Saturday to treat scores of victims.
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was "the usual suspect" in the attacks, particularly because Syrians taking refuge from the civil war in Turkey's Hatay province clearly "have become targets" for the regime in Damascus.
No one claimed responsibility for the carnage, nor was there any comment on the explosions from authorities in the Syrian capital.
In addition to tensions involving Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated the blasts also may have been related to his government's peace talks with Kurdish rebels, an effort aimed at ending nearly 30 years of conflict.
Erdogan said "Hatay is also a very sensitive province," home to 20,000 to 25,000 refugees. "There may be those who want to agitate these sensitivities," he said.
Turkey has harshly cricitized Syria's President Assad throughout the course of the civil war there. Two years of bloodshed in Syria are believed to have killed about 70,000 people and have made hundreds of thousands of civilians homeless.
The U.S. embassy in Ankara condemned the attack in Turkey Saturday and vowed to stand with authorities in Ankara to "identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice."