Turkish official accuses US of complicity in deadly bombing: ‘The killer is among the first ones returning’

Turkey has claimed the U.S. is complicit in the deadly bombing that occurred in Istanbul earlier this week. 

Turkish authorities arrested a woman on Monday that they linked with the bombing. They determined she had entered the country from Syria on orders of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, but the groups have denied involvement.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu accused the U.S. of complicity in the attack due to a long-standing partnership between Washington and Kurdish militia in Syria, according to The New York Times. 

When asked about condolences from the U.S., Soylu said “the killer is among the first ones returning to the scene.” 

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Sunday’s explosion occurred on Istiklal Avenue, a popular thoroughfare lined with shops and restaurants that leads to Taksim Square. Six people died and 81 others ended up in hospital following the attack. 

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2019.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks during a news 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 and included two girls, ages 9 and 15.

The Istanbul Police Department said videos from around 1,200 security cameras were reviewed and raids were carried out at 21 locations. At least 46 other people were also detained for questioning.

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“Turkey continues with its fight against terrorism with determination,” the independent T24 news website quoted the minister as saying. “No terrorist organization will succeed in any kind of plot against Turkey.”

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu talks to shop owners as he visits the blast site on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 14, 2022.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu talks to shop owners as he visits the blast site on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 14, 2022.
(Reuters/Dilara Senkaya)

Police arrested the suspect, who allegedly claimed responsibility for the attack and told officers that she had been trained as a “special intelligence officer” by the PPK as well as 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 Istanbul's popular pedestrian Istiklal Avenue Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022.

People leave the area after an explosion on Istanbul’s popular pedestrian Istiklal Avenue Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, Nov. 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 U.S. has worked with as part of its efforts to combat the Islamic State in Syria. 

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

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The U.S. at the time said such weapons weren’t meant for the PKK and it 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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