Turkey Insists U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish Militia Behind Deadly Ankara Attack

PM Davutoglu dismisses claim by PKK splinter group that they carried out suicide car bomb attack, calls on U.S. to show solidarity with Turkey 'without ifs or buts.'

Firefighters try to extinguish flames following an explosion targeting a convoy of military service vehicles, Ankara, February 17, 2016.
AFP

Turkey's prime minister has dismissed a Turkey-based Kurdish militant group's claim of responsibility for an attack in Ankara that killed 28 people, insisting it was carried out by a U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia group.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, TAK, claimed the suicide car bomb attack on Friday, saying it was in retaliation for Turkish military operations against militants in southeast Turkey. The group is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

But Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters Saturday that Turkey was certain that the Syrian Kurdish group was behind the bombing. He said TAK took responsibility to ensure the militia's "international legitimacy" was not harmed.

Davutoglu again called on the United States not to back the group and to show solidarity with Turkey "without ifs or buts."

Reuters

The disagreement over the YPG risks driving a wedge between the NATO allies at a critical point in Syria's civil war, as the United States pursues intensive talks with Syrian ally Russia to bring about a "cessation of hostilities".

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday spoke to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in an 80-minute telephone call, sharing his concerns over the Syrian conflict and promising his support.

On Friday, a State Department spokesman told reporters Washington would continue to support organizations in Syria that it could count on in the fight against Islamic State - an apparent reference to the YPG