Turkey says Syrian Kurds will 'pay price' for Ankara bombing
Turkey's prime minister has blamed a Syrian Kurd for the bombing of a military convoy in Ankara which killed at least 28 people, saying he was aided by the Turkish Kurd group the PKK.
Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday that the attack on Wednesday was carried out by a Syrian with links to the YPG, the military wing of the Syrian Kurdish PYD party, who was supported by the Turkish Kurd PKK movement.
"It has with certainty been revealed that this attack was carried out by members of the terrorist organisation in Turkey in cooperation with a YPG member who infiltrated from Syria," Davutoglu said. "The attack has direct links with YPG."
The prime minister said the bomber was a Syrian national named Salih Necar and vowed that the culprits would "pay a price".
The PYD on Thursday denied involvement in the Ankara attack, with its leader Saleh Muslim telling Sky News Arabia that his group had "no connection".
A general statement from the Syrian Democratic Forces, which includes the YPG, condemned the bombing.
Their comments came as seven people were killed in another attack on a military convoy travelling through Diyarbakir on Thursday, which was immediately claimed by the PKK group.
The Turkish army responded to the Ankara bombing by launching a fresh wave of air strikes on PKK sites in northern Iraq.
Davutoglu said the strikes had killed 70 PKK members, including several of the group’s leaders.
World leaders have condemned Wednesday's attack, pledging to support the Turkish government in efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice and boost security.
The mayor of Istanbul said on Thursday afternoon that security alerts had been raised to their highest possible level following the attack in Ankara.
Turkey has for decades been at war with the PKK, which operates in southern Turkey and northern Iraq and agitates for greater independence.
Ankara links the Syrian Kurdish movement with the PKK and considers both groups "terrorist". The US, a key Turkish ally, has supported the Syrian Kurds in its battles against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, said on Thursday: "This process will help our friends - who we could not convince so far - better understand how strong the links are between the PYD and YPG in northern Syria with the PKK in Turkey."
Turkey has been shelling Syrian Kurd fighters who were moving towards the Syrian border town of Azaz after taking advantage of Russian bombing of rebel groups in the area.
Turkey said the capture of Azaz by the YPG would be a "red line" and has vowed not to let it fall into Kurdish hands.