This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Erdogan's Kurdish Pathology

"Before automatically pointing at the PKK as the perpetrator, our so-called security experts should have remembered that the Kurds are on excellent terms with the Israelis and they cooperate in many fields. No Kurd would have authorized such an attack against Israelis. Such ignorant blabbing is but another indicator of the pathetic state of our security."
(former) United Nations official 

"We lost Russian tourists after the government shot down the Russian plane [November]; then came the bombing at Sultanahmet Square [mid-January] and we lost German tourists. Millions of people in Istanbul earn their livelihood in the hospitality industry and IS and the PKK have just put the last nail in our coffins."
Galata (Istanbul) shopkeeper
Pedestrians walk along Istiklal Street, a major shopping and tourist district, in central Istanbul, March 20, 2016. (photo by REUTERS/Osman Orsal)

Doubtless the government of Turkey would far prefer the latest bombing carried out on Istiklal Street in Istanbul to have been the work of the PKK rather than the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The renewed vehemence against the Kurds of Turkey as separatist terrorists setting them apart as pariahs from all other Turks, save the Jews of Turkey for whom the Justice and Development Party has the typical Arab/Muslim contempt, serves this government's purposes well, when such attacks can be attributed to them.

But as the investigation into the bombing proceeded it soon became clear that it was a Turk, whose allegiance to Islamic State led him to transform himself into a living bomb. As a Turk he would have taken AKP messages maligning Jews and Israel seriously as well. According to Interior Minister Efkan Ala, the suicide bomber, was from Gaziantep. "We have determined that Mehmet Ozturk, born in 1992 in Gaziantep, has carried out the heinous attack on Saturday in Istanbul. It has been established that he is a member of Daesh."
Israeli investigators had travelled to Turkey, along with a unit of the Magen David Adom, to retrieve the bodies of the three dead Israelis and take them back to Israel for burial. Eleven Israelis were wounded in the blast and were hospitalized. Leading a member of the ruling AKP party to express her heartfelt desire on Twitter that: "I wish it had been worse. I wish all Israeli citizens would have died, not just injured."   More of a mystery than that might be, is why Israelis would visit a country which holds them in such contempt.
This woman, Irem, Aktas, expressed in the finest tradition of the Justice and Development Party the friendly neighbourliness of a long-time ally of Israel, before the election of the AKP Islamist party and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power. The AKP swiftly disowned her statement, but it was in fact quite in accord with many of the virulently anti-Semitic statements emitted from the lips of President Erdogan and his Prime Minister on many other occasions.

It seems that the bomber did make a very particular effort to target Israelis. A group of 14 Israelis, Jews and Arabs, had formed a tourist delegation led by an Israeli tour organizer who was himself injured in the blast. The attacker waited for them to emerge from their hotel, when they streamed out for breakfast, then waited again until they were all assembled in his near proximity, when he set himself off.

President Erdogan has been conflating the PKK with Daesh, insisting that they have a mutual pact to aid one another, and if it was an ISIL jihadist who was involved in this atrocity, the PKK, he insists is still behind it all. The former United Nations official who is well versed in Middle East politics scoffs at Erdogan's contention, but it is hardly surprising to hear any conspiracy theories from this man whose governance of Turkey has been an unmitigated disaster.

But not for his influential moneyed colleagues whom his presidency and the party he represents have been a gift to their increasing wealth, thanks to the endemic corruption that he oversees while proclaiming his government to be attuned to the best interests of the country. If the best interests of Turkey are equated with shuttering news agencies, arresting journalists and threatening anyone who criticizes his agenda, perhaps he's right.

Perhaps his critics are also right when they point out his paranoid fixation on Turkey's Kurds, and his determination to treat them no better than the Syrian president whom he so despises treats his Sunni citizens leading to his military bombing Kurdish villages and killing both civilians and militants alike. As a member of NATO Turkey's focus is meant to be on combating Islamic State, not the Kurds whom NATO and the U.S.-led coalition in Syria are arming and training.

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