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Turkey’s ruling party, ultranationalist ally reject motion to investigate deadly İstanbul blast

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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), on Wednesday rejected a parliamentary motion by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to investigate a deadly bombing in İstanbul on Nov. 13 that left six people dead, an HDP lawmaker has announced.

Six people were killed and 81 injured on Nov. 13 when an explosion rocked İstiklal Avenue, a busy pedestrian street that runs through İstanbul’s central neighborhood of Taksim.

“We submitted a parliamentary motion for the investigation of the Taksim attack. AKP+MHP rejected it. Period…!” tweeted HDP lawmaker Meral Danış Bektaş.

A Syrian woman named Ahlam Albashir was detained several hours after the attack for having left a bag in the area with the bomb. Turkey blamed the attack on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Kurdish militant groups in Syria, although they deny any involvement.

Turkey launched a military operation over the weekend in northern Syria and Iraq against the Kurdish militant groups in retaliation for the explosion.

According to the HDP, there are many questions regarding the İstanbul blast and it looks more likely the work of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Turkey-backed rebel groups in Syria. The party claims the AKP is using the İstanbul blast to attack Kurds and increase the nationalist sentiment in the country ahead of the 2023 elections in a bid to stay in power.

HDP lawmaker Garo Paylan tweeted on Wednesday that the AKP and MHP rejected their motion because they don’t want the people to know that Albashir’s three brothers were killed while fighting for ISIL and that one of her brothers is a commander of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Paylan was referring to a claim made by Mazloum Abdi, the commander-in-chief of Syria’s Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who said Albashir’s family was linked to ISIL.

“Three of her brothers died fighting for the Islamic State. One died in Raqqa, another in Manbij and a third died in Iraq. Another brother is a commander in the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition in Afrin. She was married to three different Islamic State fighters and the family is from Aleppo,” Abdi was quoted by Al-Monitor as saying in an interview published on Tuesday.

Abdi said he believes “it [the İstanbul bombing] was an act of provocation that was conceived by the Turkish government in order to lay the ground for the war against us.”

Ankara vehemently opposes the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main element of the US-backed SDF, because of its links to PKK militants who have waged a long insurgency in southeastern Turkey and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

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