Turkey Blames Syrian Kurds, Russia for Ankara Bombing

Turkey accuses a Syrian rebel group for the attacks in its capital and holds Russia responsible as well.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu of Turkey delivers a news conference in Ankara, February 18, 2016
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu of Turkey delivers a news conference in Ankara, February 18, 2016 (AKP)

Turkey blamed a Kurdish rebel group on Thursday for a bomb attack in its capital that killed 28 people and warned its rival Russia against supporting the Kurds.

“If these terror attacks continue, they will be as responsible as the YPG,” the Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, said about the Russians.

The YGP, or People’s Protection Units, are a Kurdish militia in northern Syria that the Turks consider a terrorist group.

But they are backed by Russia and the West — if for different reasons.

The Russians see the Kurds as a wedge against Turkey which has supported the uprising against their ally in Syria, Bashar al-Assad.

European countries and the United States support the Kurds because they are also fighting the self-declared Islamic State, a fanatical Sunni Islamist group that controls territory in both Iraq and Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he hoped that the attacks in Ankara would help convince Turkey’s NATO allies that the YGP and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are one and the same.

Western countries do consider the PKK a terrorist organization. A ceasefire between the far-left paramilitary group and the Turkish state broke down last year.


The YGP has denied responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, which targeted the heart of Ankara’s administrative district.

A statement published in The Kurdistan Tribune said the group had “never been involved in an attack against Turkey” and accused Turkish leaders of “deliberately distorting the truth.”

The attacks came only days after Turkey started shelling Kurdish positions across the border in Syria.

It was only the latest terrorist attack on Turkish soil connected to the war in Syria. More than a hundred people were killed in bomb attacks in Ankara in November. Ten tourists were killed in Istanbul last month. Islamic State sympathizers were implicated in both cases.

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