Turkey blames ‘inac­tion’ on Syria for attacks

For­eign min­is­ter Davu­to­glu says deadly bomb­ing near bor­der breached Turkey’s “red line” as Syria rejects responsibility.

Turkey’s for­eign min­is­ter has blamed the world’s inac­tion on the Syr­ian con­flict for the “bar­bar­ian act of ter­ror­ism” that claimed dozens of lives near the border.


Ahmet Davutoglu’s com­ments in Berlin came a day after a twin bombing in the small town of Rey­hanli, in the south­ern Turk­ish province of Hatay bor­der­ing Syria, that left at least 46 peo­ple dead and 100 oth­ers wounded.

They also fol­lowed a vig­or­ous denial by Syria of any links to Saturday’s blasts – the dead­liest inci­dent on Turk­ish soil since the Syr­ian con­flict began.

Hold­ing Turkey indi­rectly respon­si­ble for the blasts, which took place just a few miles from the main bor­der cross­ing into Syria, Omran al-​Zoubi said: “Syria did not com­mit and would never com­mit such an act because our val­ues would not allow that.”

Open fron­tier

Turkey has taken in more than 400,000 Syr­ian refugees, many of whom have set­tled in Hatay, and has thrown its full weight behind the armed oppo­si­tion fight­ing to over­throw Bashar al-​Assad, although it denies sup­ply­ing weapons.

Fight­ers are able to cross back and forth across the fron­tier vir­tu­ally unchal­lenged, unset­tling many on the Turk­ish side of the bor­der, who say more and more rad­i­cal groups are join­ing the oppo­si­tion ranks.

Davu­to­glu had ear­lier told Turkey’s TRT tele­vi­sion that he did not believe the attacks were linked to the Syr­ian refugees in his coun­try, but that they had “every­thing to do with the Syr­ian régime”.

Besir Ata­lay, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, said author­i­ties had arrested nine peo­ple, all Turk­ish cit­i­zens and includ­ing the alleged mas­ter­mind of the attacks.

The devel­op­ments came as hun­dreds of pro­test­ers took to the streets of Antakya, about 50km from the Syr­ian frontier, on Sunday.

Sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple, mostly left­ist and nation­al­ist demon­stra­tors, marched through the cen­tre of the city, car­ry­ing ban­ners and shout­ing anti-​government slo­gans while onlook­ers cheered.

In a speech in Istan­bul later broad­cast on state TV, Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan, the Turk­ish prime minister, said: “We will not lose our calm heads, we will not depart com­mon sense, and we will not fall into the trap they’re try­ing to push us into.”

But he added: “Who­ever tar­gets Turkey will sooner or later pay the price.”

Davu­to­glu, for his part, called the blasts a breach of Turkey’s “red line” and said that “it’s time for the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity to dis­play a com­mon stance against the régime … imme­di­ately and with­out delay”.

He called for an “urgent, result-​oriented diplo­matic ini­tia­tive” to find a solu­tion to the Syr­ian cri­sis and said that “Turkey has the right to take any kind of mea­sure” in response to the killings.

Ger­many pledges support

Dur­ing his talks with Davu­to­glu, Guido West­er­welle, the Ger­man for­eign min­is­ter, expressed his con­do­lences for the vic­tims of the “bar­baric act of ter­ror­ism” and pledged his country’s sup­port for Turkey.

Muam­mer Guler, Turkey’s inte­rior min­is­ter, said the bomb­ings were car­ried out by a group with direct links to Syria’s intel­li­gence agency.

Davu­to­glu specif­i­cally blamed “a for­mer Marx­ist organ­i­sa­tion directly con­nected with the [Assad] régime”.

He also said the inves­ti­ga­tion was look­ing at “con­nec­tions between the Baniyas mas­sacre … and the lat­est ter­ror attack” in Turkey.

Rights groups say at least 62 civil­ians were killed this month in an assault on a Sunni dis­trict of Baniyas, a Mediter­ranean city in Syria, after at least 50 peo­ple were killed in the nearby vil­lage of al-​Bayda.

Source: Aljazeera

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