Former police chief says it is early to blame PKK for Istiklal bombing

Former police chief says it is early to blame PKK for Istiklal bombing
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Hanefi Avci said that it seemed very difficult to deduce anything from the statement of the bomber Albashir. “Not much is known about Albashir's organizational activities,” Avci said

A former Turkish police chief renowned for conducting breakthrough investigations said it was early to blame PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for a bombing that shook Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul on November 13 prompting harsh response from Turkey on Kurdish militants in Northern Syria.

Hanefi Avcı, who has spent many years in Turkey’s southeast working against the Kurdish insurgence during 1980-90s said in an interview with Medyascope website that the information gathered until now based on the statement of the bomber Ahlam Albashir to the police and to the prosecutor failed to confirm that she was a member of the PKK.

“It seems very difficult to say something from that statement. Not much is known about Albashir's organizational activities,” Avci said.

The PKK already denied involvement in the blast and said the organization did not have any relations to Albashir.

“[The statement by the bomber] portrays her like she was given random instructions and then she set off [for Turkey]. All contacts are of Arab origin, and there are no people who could be close to the PKK and who could be considered PKK members in the past. The code names given there are not something the PKK uses. Either there is a lot of information in the file that we cannot see or it seems too early to say this was the PKK,” Avci said.

The former police chief said the bomber did not talk about any military training that the PKK members generally have and statement by the bomber did not reflect the style of PKK members either, which also creates uncertainty.

In her testimony, Albashir said that her brother Mohammed was wounded during an ISIS (Islamic State) attack and has prosthetics in both legs.

Albashir said she went to YPG-controlled Manbij with her sister Meryem in 2017 and senior YPG executives in Manbij arrested her for spying against the group for the SNA (Syrian National Army).

Officially established in 2017, the SNA took part in Turkey’s military offensives into the Northern Syria to combat Kurdish militants, that Ankara deems to be terrorists. The SNA is provided funding, training and military support by Turkey, according to several reports.