Deadly blasts leave dozens dead in Turkish town near Syrian border | News | DW | 11.05.2013
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Deadly blasts leave dozens dead in Turkish town near Syrian border

Two car bombs have exploded in a small Turkish town near the Syrian border leaving dozens of people dead. The blasts raises concern that Syria's bloody civil war was crossing into Turkey.

The two explosions, just 15 minutes apart, occurred Saturday just outside the post office and town hall in Reyhanli, a hub for Syrian refugees and rebel activity in Turkey's Hatay province.

At least 43 people were killed in the blasts and around 100 injured, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said. He added that authorities were still investigating the attacks, but said Syria's intelligence and military were "the usual suspects" behind the bombings.

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Car bombs on Turkish-Syrian border kill 43

"We know that the Syrian refugees have become a target of the Syrian regime," Arinc said. "Reyhanli was not chosen by coincidence."

"Our thoughts are that their mukhabarat (Syrian intelligence agency) and armed organizations are the usual suspects in planning and the carrying out of such devilish plans," he added.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan earlier raised the possibility that the attack could be related to Turkey's ongoing peace talks with Kurdish rebels to end the nearly three-decade-old conflict.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.

Refugee hub

Many Syrians have sought refuge in and around Reyhanli, where a car bombing in February killed 12 people and injured around 30. Reyhanli is close to the Cilvegozu border crossing with Syria, which shares a more than 804 kilometer (500-miles) border with Turkey.

NATO has deployed Patriot missile batteries along the Turkish side of the Turkey-Syria border in an effort to avoid spillover from the Syrian civil war.

Turkey, a NATO member, formerly supported the Syrian government but now backs the rebel fight against President Bashar al-Assad. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the bombings a "provocation" against Turkey and said it was no coincidence they came at a time of heightened diplomatic efforts to halt the conflict.

"There may be those that want to sabotage Turkey's peace, but we will not allow that," Davutoglu told reporters while on a trip to Berlin. "No-one should attempt to test Turkey's power."

 Saturday's attacks come days before Erdogan is to travel to the US for talks expected to be dominated by the Syrian conflict.

dr/jlw  (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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