New Cold War.org, Feb 18, 2016
Turkey has responded to the car bomb attack in Ankara on February 17 by carrying out jet fighter attacks in northern Iraq against positions of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and continuing its shellings and other attacks against the civilian populations in eastern Turkey.
Enclosed are two statements by representatives of the Kurdish people in Syria and two news reports.
YPG denies involvement in Ankara attack
The General Command of YPG (People’s Defense Units) of the Kurdish population in northern Syria has released a statement in response to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blaming the YPG for yesterday’s bomb attack in the heart of Turkish capital Ankara which left 28 people dead and 61 others wounded.
The YPG General Command said it has no links to the attack, remarking that Davutoglu put forward this accusation to pave the way for an offensive on Rojava and Syria. The General Command stressed that the YPG has not engaged in any kind of military activity against the Turkish state so far in spite of all its attacks and provocations.
Here is the full text of the related statement by YPG General Command:
As is known to our people and the public opinion, the Rojava revolution has entered its 4th year. As YPG forces, we are protecting our people in Rojava region from the very first day on. Under challenging conditions, we are protecting our people from barbaric gangs such as ISIS and Al-Nusra.
Countless states and media outlets have repeatedly reported about the support Turkey has been providing to these terrorist groups. Apart from the terrorist groups attacking us, we as YPG have engaged in no military activity against the neighboring states or other forces. Despite all its provocations and attacks on our Rojava border, we have acted with historic responsibility and never retaliated against Turkey. During the past four years, Rojava is the safest area of the Turkey-Syria border and there has been no military action conducted by our side during this period. This truth is best known to the Turkish military and AKP government. They are deliberately distorting the truth and holding us responsible for the explosion in Ankara.
We would like to reiterate our message to the peoples of Turkey and the world; We have no links to this incident. It is not specific to this case alone, as we have never been involved in an attack against Turkey. The Turkish state cannot possibly prove our engagement in any kind of attack on their side because we were never involved in such an action. Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu’s remarks “Ankara attack was conducted by YPG” is a lie and far away from the truth. With this statement, Davutoglu wants to pave the way for an offensive on Syria and Rojava and to cover up Turkey’s relations with the ISIS, which is known to the whole world by now.
As People’s Defense Units-YPG, we state once again that we have no links to the explosion in Ankara and we call upon all neighboring states and forces to respect the Rojava revolution and will of peoples.”
Syrian PYD leader rejects responsibility for Ankara attack
The leader of the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) has rejected the accusation that the organization carried out the Wednesday evening bombing attack in Ankara that killed 28 people and wounded 61.
The declaration comes after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said a member of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the PYD, was behind the attack.
“We are not responsible for the Ankara bombing,” Saleh Muslim was quoted by the Arbil-based Rudaw media network as saying.
Davutoğlu vowed retaliation against Syrian Kurdish militants for the attack.
Salih Neccar, a Syrian national, was named as a prime suspect in the bombing by Turkish authorities.
“We are completely refuting that… Davutoğlu is preparing for something else because they’ve been shelling us — as you know — for the past week,” Muslim told Reuters by telephone.
Turkey has said its shelling of YPG positions is a response, within its rules of engagement, to hostile fire coming across the border into Turkey, something the PYD leader also denied.
“I can assure you not even one bullet has been fired by the YPG into Turkey … They [the YPG] don’t consider Turkey an enemy,” he said.
The co-leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) umbrella group, Cemil Bayık, was quoted by the Fırat news agency as saying he did not know who was responsible for the Ankara bombing. But the attack, he said, could be an answer to “massacres in Kurdistan”, referring to the Kurdish region spanning parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Turkey blames Syria’s YPG group for Ankara blast
Turkey’s prime minister calls on countries to pick a side after blast kills at least 28 people in central Ankara.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has blamed Syria’s PKK-linked YPG group for a blast in the capital Ankara on February 17 that killed at least 28 people.
The Turkish leader used a speech on Thursday to call on the country’s allies to “pick a side”.
Davutoglu blamed the suicide attack on a Syrian Kurd with links to the YPG, adding nine others linked to the attack were arrested after the bombing. He called on the U.S. and other allies to end cooperation with the YPG in Syria and list it as a terrorist group.
“We cannot continue to accept these dual standards, we are looking forward to a uniform stance against them (YPG),” Davutoglu said. “We call on all the countries to take a clear stance against those terrorist organisations…either stand by the side of Turkey as a state or take side with terrorists.”
Speaking shortly after Davutoglu, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would reveal evidence proving the YPG’s involvement in the attack, adding “those who support them will be judged by history.”
Turkish jets carried out air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq shortly after the attack killing 70 of its members, the Turkish leader said.
The YPG denied its members carried out the attack in a statement issued on Thursday. “Despite all the provocations and attacks by the Turkish army on the border of Rojava (Syrian Kurdish area) we have not responded and acted in a historic responsible manner,” the statement said. “We have conducted no military attack and the ones who know it the best are the Turkish army and AKP government.”
Turkey considers the YPG an off-shoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is fighting Turkish security forces in the country’s Kurdish areas.
Hardened public opinion
Mehmet Celik of the Daily Sabah newspaper told Al Jazeera the attacks would increase support for Turkish military intervention in Syria, adding any action would extend beyond fighting the YPG.
“The ground operations will be against all terror groups, will support the moderate opposition and secure humanitarian aid,” Celik said, adding any action would not be taken by Turkey alone. “It will not be unilateral and Turkey is pushing for it to be done in a coaltion.” A burning vehicle seen after the explosion in Ankara, Turkey [AP]
Al Jazeera‘s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Ankara, said the Turkish government will likely launch more air strikes and attacks against the PKK and YPG in Syria and Iraq. “The Turkish population, regardless of how polarised it is on domestic issues, on the Kurdish issue they are united…that the Kurdish groups fighting Turkey should be dealt with with force,” Elshayyal said.
Turkey is concerned that the YPG is trying to create an autonomous region in northern Syria on its southern border.
Davutoglu also accused the YPG of being in league with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and fighting the Syrian opposition groups that Turkey backs.
The country has previously experienced attacks by the PKK [sic] and the the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
Amed’s Sur district under heavy artillery fire
The historic Sur district of the main Kurdish city Amed [Diyarbakir] is being targeted by heavy artillery fire.
While the self-rule resistance against attacks and siege continues for the 79th uninterrupted day, state forces have intensified their attacks over the past three days.
The buildings where some 200 people took shelter and remain trapped are particularly being targeted by ceaseless tank and artillery fire. Huge smokes are rising from the central district of Sur which is also witnessing an intense helicopter activity amid sounds of gunshots.
DIHA reporter Mazlum Dolan who is among those trapped in a basement said in a message he sent earlier today that Turkish forces continued to conduct intensified mortar and artillery attacks.
Dolan also reported that a house collapsed on a family this morning, upon which YPS fighters went to the scene and rescued the people from under ruins. Seven people in the house suffered injuries and fractures.
Related: Journalist in Sur warns against an imminent massacre like in Cizre, ANF News, Feb 17, 2016
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