Turkey blames Kurdish PKK on Istanbul bombing

Turkish authorities see terrorism in the attack

Photo | AFP

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) — Turkey’s interior minister accused the Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party or PKK on Monday of responsibility for a bombing in a busy Istanbul street that killed six people and wounded scores, saying a suspect has been arrested.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed in the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a G20 summit of the world’s leading economies shortly after his government accused the PKK of being behind Sunday’s blast, which wounded 81.

He had called the bombing a “vile attack” before leaving for the summit.

“It might be wrong if we say for sure that this is terror but according to first signs… there is a smell of terror there,” Erdogan told a news conference on Sunday.

The explosion tore through Istiklal Street, a popular shopping destination for locals and tourists, on Sunday afternoon. No individual or group has claimed the attack.

A suspect was arrested by the early hours of Monday.

“The person who planted the bomb has been arrested,” interior minister Suleyman Soylu said in a statement broadcast by the official Anadolu news agency.

“According to our findings, the PKK terrorist organization is responsible,” he said.

The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara as well as its Western allies, has kept up a deadly insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s.

Regularly targeted by Turkish military operations, the group is also at the heart of a tussle between Sweden and Turkey, which has been blocking Stockholm’s entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since May, accusing it of leniency towards the PKK.

“We believe that it is a terrorist act carried out by an attacker, whom we consider to be a woman, exploding the bomb,” Turkey’s vice president Fuat Oktay said.

Justice minister Bekir Bozdag said: “A woman had been sitting on one of the benches for more than 40 minutes and then she got up.”

“One or two minutes later, an explosion occurred,” he told A Haber television.

“There are two possibilities,” he said. “There’s either a mechanism placed in this bag and it explodes, or someone remotely explodes (it).”


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