Kurdish groups deny involvement in Istanbul bombing

Kurdish groups deny involvement in Istanbul bombing
Kurdish groups including the outlawed PKK, the YPG, and the SDF have rejected Turkey's claim that they were involved in the bombing in Istanbul on Sunday, which left six people dead.
3 min read
15 November, 2022
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been the most effective group in defeating the Islamic State in Syria [Getty/file photo]

Kurdish groups have denied their involvement in the attack in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, which killed at least six people and injured scores of others on Sunday. 

Senior Turkish officials pointed fingers at the Turkish-Kurdish militia Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) for perpetrating the attack, according to Turkey’s Anadolu agency. 

The outlawed PKK have denied being behind the attack.

"Our people and the democratic public know closely that we are not related to this incident, that we will not directly target civilians and that we do not accept actions targeting civilians," the group said in a statement published by the Firat news agency.

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The YPG also put out a statement rejecting Turkey's accusations. They accused Turkey’s government of "spinning a fictional and unrealistic scenario to prove their false claim”, and “categorically deny any link to Ahlam al-Bashir, the perpetrator of the terrorist attack."

Turkish forces have arrested Ahlam al-Bashir, a Syrian woman whom they say planted the bomb in central Istanbul. Turkish media reported that she had admitted to receiving an order from the PKK, which is listed as a terror group by Ankara. 

Turkey deems the YPG as a front for the PKK, and has frequently launched cross-border attacks into northern Syria against YPG and SDF targets. 

The government of the Kurdish autonomous northern and eastern region of Syria, based in Rojava, also rubbished Turkey’s accusations, saying that Turkey routinely uses attacks such as these as a pretext for repeated attacks against them. 

"This accusation is absolutely in line with Turkey's policies and actions, through which it always wants to create pretexts to set the ground for attacking us and undermining the stability of our regions," the Department of Foreign Relations of North and East Syria said. 

The Syrian Defence Forces (SDF), of which the YPG is the largest component, also rejected the accusations. 

"We affirm that our forces have nothing to do with the Istanbul bombing, and we reject the allegations accusing our forces of that," tweeted SDF  Commander-in-Chief Mazloum Abdi. 

"We express our sincere condolences to the families of the missing and the Turkish people, and we wish a speedy recovery for the injured."

Turkey has intensified its campaign of drone strikes in northern Syria against the SDF and the YPG over the past few months.