Armenia strongly condemned Monday’s powerful explosion in the Turkish town of Suruc near the Syrian border that killed at least 28 people and wounded around 100 others.
News reports said the blast ripped through a local cultural center located around 10 kilometers away from the Kurdish-populated Syrian town of Kobani. The Turkish Interior Ministry called it a “terrorist attack.”
“We strongly condemn terrorism in all its manifestations,” President Serzh Sarkisian said in a letter to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Please accept my condolences in connection with the incident,” he wrote. “I wish relatives of the victims perseverance and courage of the spirit and hope for a quick convalescence of the wounded.”
Two senior Turkish officials told Reuters evidence suggests the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group was behind the attack. Some 300 people from the Federation of Socialist Youths association were reportedly staying at the Suruc center ahead of a planned trip to Kobani to help with the rebuilding of a town that has become a symbol of Kurdish resistance against the ISIS.
Syria’s ruling regime has repeatedly accused Turkey of providing military, logistical and political support to the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front, the most successful of the Syrian rebel groups. The Turkish government strongly denies these claims backed up by Western media reports.
Official Yerevan similarly pointed the finger at Ankara after Al-Nusra militants captured the Armenian-populated Syrian town of Kessab and displaced its 2,000 or so residents in March 2014. Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the time, claiming that the attack on Kessab was launched “from the territory of neighboring Turkey.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the Armenian claims as “shameful slander.”