November 15, 2022 | Flash Brief

Turkey Accuses the U.S. of Complicity in Istanbul Terror Attack

November 15, 2022 | Flash Brief

Turkey Accuses the U.S. of Complicity in Istanbul Terror Attack

Latest Developments

Turkey’s Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu accused the United States of complicity in Sunday’s terror attack in Istanbul, which killed six people and injured more than 80. The meritless accusation is based on the alleged affiliation of the apprehended suspect, Ahlam Albahsir, with the PYD, a political party whose military arm comprises a key part of the U.S.-led coalition that defeated the Islamic State in Syria and continues to suppress its remnants.

Expert Analysis

“Without offering any evidence to its baseless claim that the U.S. is to blame for the horrific terror attack, it is clear that the Turkish government is trying to politicize the tragedy, mainly by attempting to demonize the United States and its Syrian Kurdish partners in the eyes of the Turkish people.” Sinan Ciddi, FDD Non-Resident Senior Fellow on Turkey

The Kurds and the U.S.

Turkey has been furious with the United States for providing military aid to the PYD, an offshoot of the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK), which both Ankara and Washington consider a terrorist organization. Yet the PYD has not launched attacks inside Turkey, and its military arm has been a staunch ally against the Islamic State. Regardless, Soylu dismissed the U.S. embassy in Ankara’s message of condolence offered hours after the attack, stating, “We do not accept the U.S. embassy’s message of condolence. We reject it.” He added that accepting condolences from the United States “is like the murderer being the first to arrive at the scene of the crime.”

The PKK and the PYD both denied any involvement in the attack. While they are suspects, the PKK has been quick to claim responsibility for its previous attacks. As noted, the PYD has not previously launched any attacks inside Turkey.

Turkey Still Harbors Hamas

Despite Ankara’s stated commitment to combatting terrorism, Minister Soylu recently ruled out expelling members of Hamas who continue to reside in Turkey and said that the Turkish government has no intention of designating Hamas as a terrorist organization. “We did not meet a demand regarding Hamas,” said Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on November 13. “We do not see Hamas as a terrorist organization.”

Related Analysis

Taliban meets with Hamas during high-level talks in Turkey,” by Joe Truzman and Bill Roggio

Hamas Operations Continue Unhindered in Turkey,” FDD Flash Brief