Turkey appeared to suggest the U.S. played a role in Sunday’s deadly bomb attack on a busy Istanbul street in televised remarks Monday, according to The New York Times.
“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO Ally Turkiye in countering terrorism,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Sunday following the attack that killed six people and wounded scores, using the recently-adopted official spelling of the country’s name. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Ankara “rejects” U.S. condolences and added that “the killer is among the first ones returning to the scene,” appearing to reference the U.S. ask the “killer,” the NYT reported.
“We do not accept the US embassy’s message of condolences. We reject it,” Soylu said, according to AFP.
In the hours after the attack, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the circumstances of the explosion indicated terrorism, and that while an Islamic State as the perpetrator could not be ruled out, Turkish intelligence primarily suspected the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) of carrying out the attack, according to Reuters. While the U.S. and Turkey are allies and have cooperated on nuclear nonproliferation and other security issues, Turkey often accuses the U.S. of supplying weapons to the Kurdish fighters, according to the NYT.