Iran says Gaziantep attack no surprise, US condemns it

This photograph is taken from the Turkish news portal ntvmsnbc.com.

August 22, 2012, Wednesday/ 12:03:00

An Iranian official has made a statement implying that Turkey risked becoming the target of attacks like the one that occurred in Gaziantep on Monday by intervening in Syria, while the US has condemned the attack.

Turkish news portal ntvmsnbc.com reported on Wednesday that Hossein Nakavi, spokesperson for the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, was quoted by the Iranian parliament's news agency ICANA as saying Ankara should concentrate on “its own internal affairs instead of intervening in Syria.”

In his remarks, the Iranian parliamentarian accused Ankara of supporting terrorist groups in Syria, including al-Qaeda. He asserted, “Turkey's support is, perhaps, not only leading to the deaths of innocent people in Syria but also jeopardizing Turkey's own safety.”

Nakavi added: “Turkey is now faced with an internal crisis. Ankara, instead of meddling in Syria and making hostile declarations regarding this country, should focus on resolving its own internal affairs.”

The same parliamentarian is remembered for harsh remarks after a Turkish jet was downed near the Syrian border in the eastern Mediterranean in June, referring to the international crisis that followed the incident as a conspiracy to convince NATO to intervene in Syria.

The US condemned the attack. On Wednesday, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said during a press conference: “We condemn the attack that took place yesterday in Gaziantep, Turkey, that left nine people dead and more than 60 people injured. We express our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims. The United States stands with Turkey in its fight against terrorism, and we join the Turkish authorities in calling for calm in the wake of these tragic events.”

In response to a question on whether there could be any Syrian involvement in the attack, Nuland said, “We haven't seen any claims of responsibility, nor do we have any independent information at this point.”

Another message came from the UK's Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, who tweeted on the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) official account on Wednesday, “I was saddened to hear of the latest terrorist outrage in Gaziantep.”

The Spanish Foreign Ministry also issued a statement condemning the attack and offering its sympathies to the families of the victims. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano sent a message of condolence to Turkish President Abdullah Gül, also on Wednesday.

Nine people were killed and 60 others were wounded in Gaziantep on Monday night when explosives packed into a truck parked near a police station were detonated.

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