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Turkey rejects US condolences over İstanbul attack due to its support for Kurdish groups

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Turkey’s interior minister has refused to accept condolences conveyed by the United States for a deadly terrorist attack in İstanbul on Sunday due to the country’s alleged support for Kurdish militant groups in Syria, which Turkey blames for the tragedy.

“The U.S. strongly condemns the act of violence that took place today in Istanbul, Turkiye. Our thoughts are with those who were injured and our deepest condolences go to those who lost loved ones. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO Ally Turkiye in countering terrorism,” tweeted White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre following the attack on Sunday, which claimed the lives of six people and injured 81 others.

The explosion took place on the popular İstiklal Street, home to small boutiques and European consulates.

On Monday Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who announced that the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was behind the attack and that a Syrian woman had been detained in connection to it, slammed the US for its support for Kurdish militant groups in Syria.

Turkey sees those groups such as the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish political party in northern Syria, and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the PYD, as terrorist groups and extensions of the PKK.

“We do not accept the US embassy’s message of condolence. We reject it,” Soylu said in televised comments.

Soylu said Turkey’s alliance with the United States is open to debate, accusing Washington of transferring money to Kurdish groups in Syria. Both countries are members of NATO.

Meanwhile, in an apparent move to avoid engaging in a war of words with Turkey, the US Embassy in Ankara released a statement on Monday recalling that the US condemns every act of terrorism and acts in solidarity with NATO ally Turkey.

The embassy made no reference to Soylu’s accusations.

Ankara has often accused Washington of supplying weapons to Kurdish fighters in northern Syria who control most of the area and who in 2015 drove Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists out of the city of Kobane.

Soylu said they believe the order for the attack was given from Kobane.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

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