Turkish minister says deadly gun attack was ‘America-based’
ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s interior minister on Saturday described a gun attack that killed a police officer in the country’s south as an “America-based” operation.
Two suspected Kurdish militants opened fire on security force lodgings in the Mediterranean province of Mersin late Monday, killing one officer and wounding a second officer and a civilian.
The female attackers, who Turkish authorities said were affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, later killed themselves by detonating suicide bombs.
“This action is an America-based action,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told ruling party officials in the Black Sea province of Giresun, according to the private Demiroren news agency and other outlets.
Soylu also said U.S. authorities had requested the serial numbers of the firearms used in the attack from the Turkish police, without specifying which U.S. agency made the request.
Turkish government officials have previously accused Washington of supporting the PKK by arming and training the group’s Syrian branch, known as the YPG.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the 38-year on-off conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union. The U.S. does not recognize the YPG, which helped combat the Islamic State group in Syria, as a terrorist entity.
Soylu last year alleged American involvement in a failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 that killed more than 250 people. In 2018, he was placed on a sanctions list by Washington over the arrest and detention of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson.
The minister said Monday’s attackers, who targeted accommodations for security personnel in Mersin’s Mezitli district, had arrived in Turkey from the YPG-controlled Syrian city of Manbij by motorized parachute.