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Turkey on Edge


Explosion Near Turkish-Syrian Border Kills 40

May 11th 2013

Turkish Soldiers on patrol

Turkey's interior minister, Muammar Guler, said the death toll from bombings near the country's border with Syria has risen to 40, with about 100 more wounded.

Guler says two car bombs went off in the town of Reyhanli, just a few kilometers from a Syria border crossing. Turkish media outlets had reported earlier that there were four blasts Saturday.

Residents in the Turkish town of Reyhanli rushed to the scene of the explosions to help the many injured. The blasts occurred Saturday around 2 p.m. local time in the center of town. The interior minister, Muammer Guler, blamed the explosions on two car bombs that he said targeted a municipal building and post office. Several buildings were destroyed while others were set on fire. A stream of ambulances and cars rushed the injured to nearby hospitals.

The Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who is visiting Germany, had a strong reaction. He says "this is a big provocation and no one should attempt to test Turkey's power. Our security forces will take all necessary measures,"

Ankara, which is firmly backing the Syrian opposition, blamed Damascus for a minibus bombing in February that killed 14 at a border crossing point with Syria. The charge is denied by the Syrian government.

The latest blasts come as the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stepped up his rhetoric against the Syrian regime, accusing it of using chemical weapons and calling for international intervention. Mr. Erdogan is due to visit Washington next week, where he is expected to press his case during a meeting with U.S. President Barrack Obama.

Dorian Jones writes for VOA, from where this article is adapted.

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