Türkiye views Washington’s condolence on the November 13 attack, reportedly masterminded by the PKK/YPG terror group, in Istanbul as one coming from the perpetrator itself.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu did not mince his words when he addressed the press on Monday at the scene of the deadly terror bombing in Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue that left at least six dead and 81 injured.
Soylu took exception to messages of condolence coming in from the United States.
“It is essential to view the condolence message from America as the murderer being one of the first to arrive at the scene of the crime,” he said. “We will certainly give a clear answer to this message.”
Washington’s continued support for affiliates of the PKK terror group in the name of fighting Daesh in Syria has long been a point of concern for Ankara against its NATO ally, especially since the group has been declared a terrorist outfit by the US and Türkiye as well as the European Union.
READ MORE: Prime suspect in Istanbul bomb attack detained: Turkish authorities
The PKK has 35-plus years of history of carrying out terrorist activities against Türkiye. The group has so far been responsible for the death of more than 40,000 people including women and children.
Europol, too, is aware of the group’s activities.
A report published in July, titled European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2022, notes that the PKK and its affiliates continued its propaganda, protest, recruitment and fundraising activities throughout Europe despite Covid-19, and that PKK members were involved in “organised crime such money laundering, racketeering, extortion and drug trafficking”.
And yet, the US and its Western allies have given a free pass to the group and its offshoots operating on their soil and in Syria.
While leaders associated with the PKK terror group have openly endorsed links with the YPG, Washington has turned a blind eye to their presence and illegal activities.
The PKK, or YPG, terrorists in northern Syria make up the majority and dominate US-backed SDF – Syrian Democratic Forces.
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Washington dubs SDF its key armed ally to fight Daesh, which controlled a vast swath of Syrian territory up till 2017. Türkiye says the SDF is merely a political front to hide the PKK/YPG presence among its ranks.
The US denies political and military connections between the PKK and the YPG, backing the latter politically, financially and militarily.
The continuous US support for the YPG has in the past strained ties between the two NATO allies.
Since the attack last evening, Turkish authorities have detained dozens of suspects, including the person who is believed to have planted the bomb.
The prime suspect, identified as 23-year-old Syrian national Ahlam Albashir, said she took orders from the PKK/YPG’s headquarters in Ayn al Arab in northern Syria, the Istanbul General Security Directorate said in a statement.
Moreover, the suspect admitted before Istanbul Police to have entered the country illegally from Syria’s Afrin. The suspect also admitted to having received training from the YPG while in Syria.
A total of 46 suspects have been detained so far after police carried out operations at 21 different locations after inspecting footage from 1,200 security cameras, a statement by the police said.