Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the northern Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Kurdish news agency ANF that the perpetrator of the 13 November Istanbul bomb attack had connections with the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Muslim called the explosion a “terrorist attack” and condemned it as part of a conspiracy. Various Syrian Kurdish organisations including the PYD, the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) have condemned the attack “from the first day”, he said.
The PYD leader denied Turkey’s allegations that the attack had been carried out by groups related to his party. “Nobody in our region knows the perpetrator,” Muslim said. The woman who was arrested as the primary suspect was “not a Kurd herself and she has nothing to do with the Kurds and the Rojava administration”, he added, and pointed to her photos on social media posing with flags of the Sultan Murad brigade, an FSA constituent.
Turkey’s attacks on northern Syria could increase in the aftermath, Muslim said. Turkish authorities have accused the PYD and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) of having trained the attacker in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane for terrorist attacks in Turkey.
“Kurdish forces defeated ISIS, that is why Kobane is targeted. This shows that they have already prepared the narrative, they will attack when they find the opportunity,” he said.
The “provocative incident” resembles those Turkey’s Special War Department has staged since 1970s, Muslim continued. “I believe the Turkish public is also aware of this,” he said. “This plot targets domestic politics in particular. They aim to prolong their life through this.”
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has lost considerable support as seen in election polls, and could lose its majority in the upcoming elections scheduled for June 2023. Observers have pointed to similarities with the 7 June elections in 2015, where the AKP lost its absolute majority in parliament.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Pervin Buldan on Tuesday spoke of the bloody period after the 2015 elections, when several Islamic State (ISIS) attacks in both Kurdish-majority cities and Turkey’s biggest cities shocked the country. Buldan called the attack “an effort to redesign politics by intimidating Turkey’s public and growing violence”.
The HDP, Turkey’s second-largest opposition bloc, and the YPG and SDF, as well as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) have all issued several statements condemning the attack, denying all involvement despite authorities pointing the finger at them.