In TV interview, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says ‘foreign elements’ might be linked to Kurdish rebel group PKK.
By The Associated Press | Aug.23, 2012 | 7:16 PM
Turkey has said it is investigating whether another country, possibly Iran, was involved in an explosion that killed nine people near Syria earlier this week. The announcement reflects concern about spillover from the war in Syria as well as increasing tension with Iran, a regional power that supports Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Turkey blamed a Kurdish rebel group, the PKK, for the attack in the southern city of Gaziantep. In a separate incident near the Iraqi border, Turkish media reported Thursday that five soldiers and 16 Kurdish militants died in a nighttime ambush of a military convoy and an ensuing operation by security forces.
Some Turkish officials allege there are links between the PKK, which denied it carried out the bombing, and Syrian intelligence. Turkey backs the Syrian opposition in its war with forces loyal to Assad, and relations between Ankara and Damascus have sharply deteriorated since the conflict began in March 2011.
In an interview Wednesday night with CNN-Turk television, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc left open the possibility that Iran might be a culprit in Monday’s bombing near a police station in Gaziantep.
“It’s not just about Syria – connected to it or limited to it,” Arinc said. “All foreign elements who may be involved in our geography.”
Asked if that included Iran, he said: “It could be Iran, it could be here or it could be there.”