So far no one has taken responsibility for the two massive explosions that killed over 100 and injured more than 200 in two simultaneous blasts at a peace rally in Ankara. The casualty list includes many still on the verge of succumbing to their injuries. The bombs — officials say “probably” suicide bombers — went off at the Ankara train station just before a peace march as the demonstrators were arriving in droves. Self-evidently, the bombers favor war.
Though nine police officers also were slightly wounded, the casualties overwhelmingly were young, mostly left-wing Turks, many that support the Kurdish-affiliated HDP (People’s Democratic Party). Kurds were heavily represented at the march, and among the casualties. Selahattin Demirtas, the co-leader and spokesman for the HDP said the bombs went off among Kurdish gatherings. A HDP representative died.
By now the official consensus, still offered with no evidence, is that ISIS probably was responsible. In his first major statement Turkish PM Davutoglu pointed fingers towards four groups. First in his list was the PKK (the Kurdish Workers Party) even though Kurds and prospects for a Kurdish peace process were clearly the principle targets of the murderous blasts. Why would he make such a self-evidently outrageous claim?
Let me today give some context. A two-year truce between the PKK and the Turkish government was shattered by a series of events in June, and a war of attrition has been waged ever since, claiming the lives of thousands of Kurds and hundreds of Turks. The Ankara blast was the third in a series of explosions which have targetted Kurds, each more bloody than the last by a factor of ten. The first, in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish city in Turkey, occurred just before the elections of June 4. These resulted in a surprising 13% showing by the Kurdish affiliated HDP which deprived President Erdogan of his AKP single-party majority. On June 20, a gathering of Kurdish relief workers in Suruç was targeted by an ISIS suicide bomber, killing 33 and injuring dozens of others. They were to take aid to Syrian Kurdish Kobane, across the border from Suruç. What is it about “peace, love, and understanding” that so pisses off these people?
Hostilities between the PKK and the government picked up at this time. The government of Turkey argued that the bombings were directed at the nation of “Turkey”; many Kurds knew better and argued that ISIS may have done it, but that still points to Ankara (as to Riyad, Washington…). The Turkish press, and youtube channels are under constant onslaught by authorities, yet they still managed to publish abundant evidence already showing that Erdogan — or else MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Service) working independently of Erdogan (take your pick) — was consistently supplying the Syrian terrorist groups, including ISIS. It is well known even stateside that ISIS is selling their oil through Turkey.
As for the present bombing, no one has claimed responsibility, and no evidence about the culprits yet is forthcoming; of course the government has control of that. That the Prime Minister would point fingers towards the PKK beggars belief and amounts to an insult to all Kurds. Kurds suffered most significantly from these blasts, as did Turks in favor of peace with the Kurds. A week-old offer by the PKK to put down their weapons except in self-defense was meant to be enacted the day of the blast. The size of the protests that have followed, undeterred by fear, suggests many Turks did not fall for Davutoglu’s twisted logic.
In my next post on this subject, I will look further at the ‘circumstantial evidence’, the words that stand around the event, the official and unofficial statements of Davutoglu, HDP leader Demirtas, and other Turkish political party leaders. In short, Demirtas charges the “mafia state” with responsibility if not directly with carrying out the blast. That the AKP-led interim government should be held responsible is heard, naturally, from all the opposition party leaders.