Turkey vows to fight IS after attack kills 54, many children
Cavusoglu said Turkey would provide every kind of support that may be necessary to “cleanse” Turkey’s border with Syria of the extremists. The toll from Saturday’s attack increased to 54 on Monday, after three more victims died in hospital, the state-run Anadolu agency reported. Nearly 70 others were wounded.
An official said at least 22 victims of attack in the southeastern city of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, were children aged below 14. The official couldn’t be named in line with Turkish government rules.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but officials have said it appears to be the work of the IS, accusing it of trying to destabilize the country by exploiting ethnic and religious tensions. It was the deadliest attack in Turkey this year.
Authorities were trying to identify the attacker, who President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said was aged between 12 and 14 years. Responding to a question on reports that Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces may launch an operation to free an IS-held town from Turkish territory, Cavusoglu said: “Our border has to be completely cleansed of Daesh. It’s natural for us to give whatever kind of support is necessary,” He was using an Arabic name for the IS group. (IS) martyred our ... citizens. It is natural for us to struggle against such an organization both inside and outside of Turkey.”
Cavusoglu said Turkey had become a main target for the IS group because of measures it has implemented to stop recruits from crossing into Syria to join the fighting, as well as hundreds of arrests of IS suspects in Turkey.
He said Turkey had also become a top target because of statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has said the extremist group did “not represent Islam.”
“Turkey has always been Daesh’ primary target, because Turkey has dried out the source of Daesh’s supply of foreign fighters, rather, it has stopped them from crossing into Syria,” he said.
Turkey seeks to identify child suicide bomber
Turkish authorities were on Monday scrambling to ascertain the identity of a child suicide bomber, acting on the orders of Islamic State (IS) jihadists who killed 51 people at a crowded Kurdish wedding.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the bomber at the street wedding late Saturday in the city of Gaziantep close to Syria was aged “between 12 and 14” and that initial findings showed it had been “perpetrated by Daesh (IS)”. There were no further detail on the bomber’s identity, but Erdogan said IS had been trying to “position itself” in Gaziantep, 60 km north of Syria.
The Hurriyet daily said that DNA tests were under way to ascertain the identity, nationality and gender of the bomber. It is possible that the bomber had come over the border from Syria but IS is also known to have built homegrown cells inside Turkey in Gaziantep and even Istanbul, wrote its well-connected columnist Abdulkadir Selvi.