World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday his country will exercise extreme caution against what he described as provocations to draw Turkey into the conflict in Syria.
"We need to be extremely cautious, sensitive and most importantly extremely calm in the face of provocations that are aimed at dragging us into the bloody quagmire in Syria," Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Istanbul.
Erdogan's remarks came a day after twin car bombings in a Turkish town near the Syrian border killed at least 46 people and wounded more than 100 others.
Turkish officials blamed the attacks on a group linked to Syria's "mukhabarat," Arabic word for intelligence referring to spy agencies.
Saturday's double bombings in the Reyhanli town just across Syria's Idlib province were the deadliest cross-border spillover since the Syrian revolt began in March 2011.
In October, a stray artillery round landed in the Akcakale town near the Syrian border, killing five. Turkey retaliated to the cross-border aggression by shelling targets inside Syria. In June, Syrian forces shot down a Turkish jet flying in international airspace and in February this year a car bombing killed 14 people at the Cilvegozu border crossing, which was also blamed on Syrian intelligence services.
Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler said nine people have been detained in connection with the explosions, which took place 15 minutes apart at a crowded shopping district and outside a post office. The blasts were so powerful that it ripped through entire buildings and left hulks of twisted metal and charred skeletons from cars scattered over the streets.
Guler later said "the primary and secondary perpetrators" of the twin bombings were Turkish nationals. He also said that the attacks were masterminded from Syria.
Guler said plastic explosives were smuggled into Hatay province and they were rigged to the vehicles there.
He said around 450 businesses, 62 vehiles, 11 government buildings and 293 apartments were damaged in the explosions. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in Berlin that those detained were affiliated with a former Marxist terrorist organization which he said had "direct links" to the Syrian regime.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the suspects' involvement in the attacks were determined "through their testimonies and confessions."
He said authorities had identified so far 38 people who died in the blasts, adding three of them were Syrian nationals.
Turkish Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said 55 people were still at hospitals with two of them were in critical condition.Last Mod: 13 Mayıs 2013, 13:41