(New York, N.Y.) — Earlier this week, Turkey experienced its deadliest bombing in over five years when an explosion in Istanbul killed six people and injured at least 81 others. No group has yet to claim responsibility for the explosion. However, Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu claims that the Kurdish People’s Defense Unit (YPG) perpetrated the attack. The YPG is a wing of the U.S.- and Turkey-designated terrorist organization the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish authorities have since detained 50 people, including Ahlam Albashir, a Syrian national suspected of being sent to Turkey by the YPG to plant the bomb. Additional suspects in custody include brothers as Ammar J. and Ahmed J., who were allegedly tasked with transporting Albashir to Greece after the attack and driving another suspect to the border with Bulgaria. The PKK has denied any involvement in the explosion.
To read Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Turkey: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.
The Turkish government classifies the PKK as the most dangerous terror group inside Turkey. Critics have argued that Turkey’s longstanding issues with the country’s Kurds, and especially the PKK, have driven Ankara to target the PKK more heavily than ISIS, despite the latter having killed hundreds in suicide bombings and mass shootings across Turkey. Nonetheless, the PKK and its offshoots have claimed responsibility for a spate of high-profile terrorist attacks, including the deadly March 13, 2016, car bomb attack in Ankara that killed 37 people and wounded over 125.
To read CEP’s resource Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), please click here.