Turkey’s interior minister said on Saturday that a deadly explosion in the southern province of Mersin on 26 September was a US-centred attack.
“This attack is an American-centred attack,” pro-government daily Yeni Şafak quoted Minister Süleyman Soylu as saying during a speech in north Turkey.
“Those who carried out that attack, they departed from Manbij,” Soylu said, referring to the Kurdish-controlled northern Syrian town which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan repeatedly called “a hotbed for terrorists”.
The military wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) assumed responsibility of the bomb attack which resulted in the death of a policemen. Two female PKK members also died in the attack after detonating the bombs they were carrying.
According to Soylu, those who carried out the attack arrived from Syria to Mersin via paramotors.
“I have been working as the ministry of interior for six years, this is the first time the Americans asked something from us,” Soylu said, adding that the US authorities requested the serial numbers of rifles used in the attack that targeted a police housing complex.
The minister added that, in response to this request, the Turkish intelligence told US counterparts to provide the serial numbers of the weapons Washington sends to the PKK.
Turkish government argues that the Kurdish armed groups that form the backbone of US-led coalition forces against ISIS in Syria are linked to the PKK and therefore pose a threat to Turkey’s national security.
Manbij is one of the places Turkey aims to clear from Kurdish fighters in a possible new military incursion that Ankara says will end up in the establishment of a buffer zone that will secure Turkey’s borders.
Turkey’s Interior Minister had previously linked the attack in Mersin to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)
His remarks, this time pointing to an alleged US involvement, came on the same day government-affiliated Hürriyet newspaper, once the flagship of Turkish media, published an opinion piece that said Turkey and the United States were indirectly at war in Syria.
Sedat Ergin, the author of the article, claimed that Geir Otto Pedersen, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, in a meeting of the UN Security Council in August, revealed mainly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) attacks into Turkey.
Ergin said Pedersen had openly accepted that the SDF killed Turkish soldiers inside Turkish borders on 11 August, in response to Turkey’s increasing drone attacks against Kurdish forces in Syria.
According to Ergin, the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN also spoke during the same Security Council meeting and implicitly blamed the United States for SDF attacks.
Ergin said that such events and the US weapons being used by Kurdish forces in Syria had showed that the two NATO allies indirectly clashed with each other on Syrian soil.