News / Europe

    Turkey Blames Ankara Bombing on Syrian With Kurdish Ties

    Forensic experts arrive near the site of last night's explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 18, 2016.
    Forensic experts arrive near the site of last night's explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 18, 2016.
    VOA News

    Turkey has blamed the car-bombing that killed 28 people in Ankara on a Syrian man with links to Kurdish militia groups, but the United States said Thursday it has yet to determine who launched the attack.

    Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday's attack in the Turkish capital was carried out by the PKK Kurdish separatist group, "together with a person who sneaked into Turkey from Syria."

    He said the Syrian man was a member of the YPG, the armed faction of a Syrian Kurdish rebel group. Ankara considers both the YPG and the PKK to be terrorist organizations.

    In Washington, deputy U.S. national security adviser Ben Rhodes condemned the attack, which damaged or destroyed five buses carrying military personnel in the center of Ankara, but said the U.S. has "not settled upon assignment of responsibility."

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to express Washington's "steadfast commitment" to its partnership with NATO ally Turkey "in the shared fight against terrorism."

    Davutoglu has appealed for international denunciations of the YPG — apparently an indirect reference to U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish fighters in their battle against Islamic State militants.

    Firefighters work at a scene of fire from an explosion in Ankara, Feb. 17, 2016.
    Firefighters work at a scene of fire from an explosion in Ankara, Feb. 17, 2016.

    Rhodes said the U.S. "made clear to the Turks that in all of our engagements with the YPG and other Kurdish elements, that we make very clear to them the importance of our alliance with Turkey, and the importance of them not engaging in efforts that would undermine what should be our focus, which is the shared threat of ISIL."

    ISIL is an acronym for Islamic State.

    Saleh Muslim, the head of the YPG, denied Turkey's allegations and said his organization was not involved in or linked to the Ankara attack.

    The car bomb was detonated Wednesday just a few hundred meters from Turkey's parliament and military headquarters. No one has yet claimed responsibility, but Davutoglu said nine people have been detained in connection with the attack.

    The pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper said the attacker who detonated the bomb was registered as a refugee in Turkey, and was identified by his fingerprints.

    Hours after the bombing, Turkey's air force launched fresh strikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq. The Turkish military said it was targeting 60 to 70 of the group's fighters.

    Turkish soldiers stand guard near the site of an explosion in Ankara, Feb. 17, 2016.
    Turkish soldiers stand guard near the site of an explosion in Ankara, Feb. 17, 2016.

    'Turkey will not shy away'

    President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denounced the bombing as an act that exceeded "all moral and humane boundaries," and declared Wednesday that "Turkey will not shy away from using its right to self-defense at any time, any place or any occasion."

    After the bombing, Erdoğan postponed a planned visit to Azerbaijan and Davutoglu canceled a trip to Brussels to discuss the European refugee crisis.

    Islamic State was blamed for last October's suicide bombing at a peace rally in Ankara that killed more than 100 people — the bloodiest single terrorist attack since Turkey became a modern state in 1923.

    Turkey has also been battling the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, which has been fighting a 30-year guerrilla war for more Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey. The Turkish military has been a frequent target of the militants.

    Dorian Jones contributed to this report from Istanbul

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Igor from: Russia
    February 19, 2016 1:17 AM
    Of course the bombing attacks were organized by Turkey itself to justify for their criminal actions against the innocent Kurds. No Western media covers the news that more than 150 innocent Kurds , old and young were burnt alive by Turk troops. But Western leaders were too quick to give condolences to the bombings in Turkey with many beautiful words...They ll have been deceived by their BEST ally!
    Never before in history such terrorist supporting state has received so much sympathy. Irony enough!

    by: andi from: usa
    February 18, 2016 4:25 PM
    Amazing , Turkey has the best CSI team, they were able to identify the bomber within hours, same on the French, they are still looking for their bomber

    by: JAKE from: California
    February 18, 2016 4:06 PM
    Well, here is the fact, Turkey bomb itself in order to prove US YPG is a terrorist group, and they have right to enter Syria. Six months ago there was phone record of Turkish military " they said lets bomb a turkish location to have reason to enter Syria" I did not work apparently, now just because US does not let them enter syria and fight with Kurdish they are trying to create excuses to enter , You will hear and see because this time US did not believe this game, they will themselves second time with even bigger explosion. Turkey is trying to put YPG as terrorist and fight with Kurdish..Lets see in two weeks Turkey will come up with new explosions which they will do by themselves. I

    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    February 18, 2016 12:12 PM
    Territorial disputes for a variety of reasons are ongoing in Georgia, Turkey, Iraq, Ukraine, Moldova, Libya, and worst case scenario Syria. The UN could broker peace in all of these situations if the international community ceded to them the authority to do so.

    by: Octavio
    February 18, 2016 9:27 AM
    Davutoglu, Erdoğan, you are the losers in this filthy game. No one has any respect for you, your condemnations, your security forces and investigators, your newspapers, and maybe your international allies. The game is over!

    by: Sensi
    February 18, 2016 5:41 AM
    "Davutoglu said the Syrian man was a member of the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish rebel group"

    Sure! How convenient that this unsubstantiated claim espouse the Turkish AKP officials grotesque propaganda that they are pushing for weeks, desperately trying to link the YPG to PKK terrorism! Now they have finally invented/found a perfect pretext to continue to bomb the latter and meddle in Syria with this alibi!

    How can these erratic liars be part of NATO is rather scary.

    by: Bird
    February 18, 2016 5:20 AM
    It is official now, the US is actively supporting a terrorist organization against its "allies" because it suits it. US credibilty as an ally will take a damage here fo sure if they don't cease their support to Kurdish terrorist speartists.
    In Response

    by: Jake
    February 18, 2016 4:08 PM
    US does not support terrorists, US know who is the real terrorist

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