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In Turkey, 40 Killed By Car Bombs Near Syrian Border

  • RFE/RL

Turkey’s government is blaming Syrian forces for two car bombs that killed 40 people and wounded more than 100 in a Turkish town near the border with Syria.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime were the “usual suspects” behind the May 11 attack at Reyhanli.

Arinc said Anakara would complete an investigation before deciding on any response.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters during a visit to Berlin that Ankara would “take all necessary measures” to protect itself.

Davutoglu also warned that “no one should attempt to test Turkey’s power.”

Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Turkish television that the attack could be related to Turkey’s own conflict with Kurdish militants.

He said Turkey is now “going through sensitive times” and has started a “new era, the Kurdish issue solution process.” He said “those who cannot digest this new era…could take such actions.”

But Erdogan also said Ankara also suspected that the Syrian government could have had a hand in the double bombing.

"Another sensitive issue is that Hatay Province is on the border with Syria. These actions may have been taken to provoke those sensitivities," he said.

Activists at the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said several Syrians were among the casualties when the car bombs exploded near Reyhanli’s municipal hall and post office.

More than 300,000 Syria refugees have fled across the border to seek shelter at Reyhanli in Hatay Province since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011.

Turkey’s long-strained relations with Assad’s regime have been burdened by additional pressure as a result of the uprising.

With a flood of refugees fleeing into Turkey and artillery barrages by Syrian government forces hitting Turkish towns near the border, diplomatic relations have been severed.

Damascus also is unhappy about a wide range of contacts that Turkey maintains with Syrian opposition forces.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and NTV