ISTANBUL– Turkey’s interior minister on Saturday described a gun attack that killed a police officer in the south of the country as a “US-based” operation.
Two suspected Kurdish militants opened fire on Monday night at security force accommodation in the Mediterranean province of Mersin, killing an officer and wounding a second officer and a civilian.
The attackers, who Turkish authorities say were affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, later killed themselves by detonating suicide bombs.
“This action is a US-based action,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told ruling party officials in the Black Sea province of Giresun, according to the private Demiroren news agency and other media.
Soylu also said US authorities requested the serial numbers of firearms used in the attack from Turkish police, without specifying which US agency made the request.
Turkish government officials have previously accused Washington of supporting the PKK by arming and training the group’s Syrian branch, known as the YPG.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the intermittent 38-year conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The United States does not recognize the YPG, which helped fight the Islamic State group in Syria, as a terrorist entity.
Last year, Soylu alleged US involvement in a failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 that killed more than 250 people. In 2018, he was placed on a sanctions list by Washington for the arrest and detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson.
The minister said Monday’s attackers, who targeted housing for security personnel in Mersin’s Mezitli district, had arrived in Turkey from the YPG-controlled Syrian town of Manbij by powered parachute.