JNN 13 May 2013 ANKARA — Two car bombs exploded in a Turkish town near the border with Syria on Saturday, killing around 40 people and wounding 100 others, officials said. Trukish Protesters Demands Erdogans Resignation on Failure of Providing Security Due to bad Foreign Policy , as Syria Denies on allegations of any role in the Car Bombing .
The blasts occured 15 minutes apart, AP reported.
One of the car bombs exploded outside the city hall while the other went off outside the post office in the town of Reyhanli, a main hub for Syrian refugees and rebel activity in Turkey’s Hatay province, just across the border. Images showed people frantically carrying victims through the rubble-strewn streets to safety.
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said about 40 people were killed and 100 others wounded in the blasts. There was no immediate information on the identities or nationalities of the victims.
“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,” Arinc claimed.
He said Turkey would “do whatever is necessary” if proven that Syria is behind the attack.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier also raised the possibility that the bombings may be related to Turkey’s peace talks with Kurdish rebels meant to end a nearly 30-year-old conflict.
Syrian mortar rounds have fallen over the border before, but if the explosion turns out to be linked to Syria it would be by far the biggest death toll in Turkey related to its neighbor’s civil war.
Syria shares a more than 500-mile border with Turkey, which has been a crucial supporter of the Syrian insurgency. Ankara has allowed its territory to be used as a logistics base and staging center for Syrian insurgents.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed from Berlin that Turkey would act.
“Those who for whatever reason attempt to bring the external chaos into our country will get a response,” he said.
Protests erupted in a Turkish town near the Syrian border on Saturday after twin car bombs killed at least 40 people, with some locals blaming Syrian residents for bringing violence over the frontier and others railing against Turkey’s foreign policy.
Police reinforcements were sent to the town of Reyhanli after the bombs ripped into crowded streets in the early afternoon, scattering cars and concrete blocks. The town is home to thousands of Syrians who have fled their country’s civil war.
Videos posted on Turkish news websites showed a group of around 100 Turks marching in central Reyhanli calling for Prime Minister Erdogan to resign, blaming the attack on his government’s policy towards Syria.
Other videos showed residents smashing the windows of vehicles with Syrian number plates.
Turkey is housing more than 300,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict, mostly along the border region, an influx that has stretched local resources and sometimes caused tensions with residents.
“Police and gendarmes have been instructed to take control, just to prevent any such events,” a Turkish government official told Reuters, asking not to be named.
“We heard that there were some reactions from local Turkish people against Syrian cars and Syrian people. Police reinforcements have been sent to prevent that sort of thing.”
A Reuters witness said there was a heavy security presence in the center of Reyhanli, near where the blasts occurred, and that the security forces had also set up checkpoints to control entry and exit to the town.
Some 60 people also marched in the capital Ankara, chanting slogans against Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, but they later dispersed.
Syria has denied allegations that it was behind two car bombing which killed 46 people in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli.
Syria Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi told a news conference on Sunday that his country “did not commit and would never commit such an act because our values would not allow that.”
He blamed Ankara for the Saturday bombings in Reyhanli as well as the ongoing unrest in Syria by facilitating the flow of arms, explosives, vehicles, militants and money across the border into the Arab country.
“It is (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan who should be asked about this act… He and his party bear direct responsibility,” Zohbi said.
The Syrian minister also stated that Turkey has planned the attacks to use them as a pretext to justify foreign intervention in Syria.
“Why this timing? Why these attack, just days before the meeting between Erdogan and (US President Barack) Obama? Does he (Erdogan), whose country is a NATO member, want to incite the United States (into intervening in Syria) by telling him his country has been attacked?” Zohbi said.
He added that the Turkish government has turned its border areas with Syria into centers for international terrorism.
At least 46 people were killed and scores of others injured in two car bomb explosions in Reyhanli, near the Syrian border, on Saturday. No group has claimed the responsibility for the attacks. Turkish authorities say nine people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
Turkey, which supports militants fighting against the Syrian government, has accused Syria of being behind the attacks.
“No one has the right to make arbitrary accusations. He accuses us first, and then says he will find the proof. That actually means he will fabricate the evidence,” Zohbi said, referring to Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler.
The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
In an interview recently broadcast on Turkish television, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that if the militants take power in Syria they could destabilize the entire Middle East region for decades.
“If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control… the situation will inevitably spill over into neighboring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond,” he added