Turkey on Monday rejected US condolences over the death of six people in a bomb attack in Istanbul that Ankara blamed on an outlawed Kurdish militant group.
Earlier, Soylu said the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara says is a wing of the PKK, were responsible for the attack on the historic and bustling Istiklal Avenue on Sunday.
Soylu said the order was given in Kobani and the bomber passed through Afrin – both cities in northern Syria where Turkish forces have carried out operations against the YPG in recent years.
Turkey has carried out three incursions in northern Syria against the YPG, including in 2019, seizing hundreds of kilometres of land. Earlier this year President Tayyip Erdogan said another operation was imminent.
The United States has supported the YPG in the conflict in Syria, stoking friction with fellow NATO member Turkey.
Condemnations of the attack and condolences for the victims poured in from several countries including the United States, the European Union, Egypt, Ukraine and Greece.
Turkish authorities linked support for the YPG by Washington and others to the blast.
The presidency’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, said such attacks “are direct and indirect results of the support some countries give to terrorist organisations.”
Soylu likened the US condolences to “the murderer arriving as one of the first at the scene of the crime.”
The PKK has led an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in clashes. It is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
An offshoot of the PKK claimed twin bombings outside an Istanbul soccer stadium in December 2016 that killed 38 people and wounded 155.
Istanbul police said on Monday that it had detained 46 people in relation to an attack at the heart of the city, including Syrian woman Ahlam Albashir who is suspected to have planted the bomb.
In an initial questioning, the woman said she was trained by Kurdish militants in Syria and entered Turkey through northwest Syria’s Afrin region, police said.