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[LISTEN] Turkish Authorities Investigating Sunday Blast in Istanbul, Further Attacks Expected

Umm Muhammed Umar   fahmida@radioislam.org.za

2 min read

16.10.22 17H15 CAT

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu did not mince his words following Sunday’s explosion in Istanbul, Turkey. Soylu rejected the condolences issued by the US. He said, ““I emphasize once again that we do not accept and reject the condolences of the US Embassy.” Radio Islam spoke to TRT journalist, Hassan Abdullah.

Abdullah said that it was important to understand the context from which Soylu’s comments had resulted. He said the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), classed as a terrorist organization, not just by Turkey, but by the United States, as well as the European Union, has a Syrian branch known as the YPG (People’s Protection Units), of who the US was an open supporter. He said, “this is not something hidden; it’s not something that’s been claimed by Turkey, but this is something that has been acknowledged by the United States.” He added, “The US is saying that YPG is separate from the PKK. Now, the YPG has basically been collaborating with the PKK in carrying out attacks.”  Abdullah said that the PKK has over the last four decades, been responsible for the deaths of some 40 000 people in Turkey. Turkey has been talking to the US for quite some time to stop supporting the YPG. Abdullah said, “During the Syrian conflict, the US had said that basically it’s supporting the YPG as a counterbalance against Daesh, and it continues to provide support to the YPG.” Turkish authorities, meanwhile, maintain that the suspect was connected to the YPG, and this is why we’ve witnessed such a reaction from the interior minister.

Turkish authorities are interrogating some two-dozen people they assert are connected to the YPG or PKK. They say they have been monitoring the camera footage across a certain patch of Istanbul and they have video evidence of movement of collaboration of many of these suspects. They also say that they have electronic evidence, such as records of intercepted calls that apparently suggest that there was interaction between the handlers and the people on the field. Aside from the woman who was arrested for allegedly having left the explosives in the marketplace, authorities are trying to widen the net. Abdullah said, “The authorities are reluctant to share specific details at this point in time, but normally what happens is, because Turkey has been dealing with terrorist attacks for quite some time, when you have some suspects in custody, they’re interrogated.” He said, “There are forensics carried out and after that, they tend to expand the net. They would usually expect more raids to be carried out, more people to be nabbed.” Abdullah said that in the past, Turkish authorities had received intelligence from suspects that more attacks were planned, and that a video has surfaced from one of the prominent figures of the PKK in which he’s saying that detection authorities should not just think that only government solutions and military installations would be targeted, but that public places would also be targeted. The video was released before this attack. And indeed, at the time of writing this article, reports were emerging of a car bomb attack having taken place in Istanbul on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, relations between Turkey and Syria became strained since the start of the Syrian Civil War, in 2011. The Turkish government currently does not have relations with the government of Bashar Al Asad. Abdullah said, “There has been some talks at the intelligence levels, so basically, the intelligence agencies of Turkey and Syria, they’ve been talking.” He explained, “President Erdogan has said that all options are on the table. It’s possible that there could be some sort of rapprochement but at the moment, especially after the war in Ukraine, and you know, the changing Russian position in Syria, I think the strategic calculus in Ankara is going to be reviewed.” He said that the attack would just reinforce the Turkish view that perhaps Damascus does not have the capacity to clear northeast of the country where YPG was stationed. According to Abdullah, Ankara has already been talking about carrying out a unilateral military action if needed.

 

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