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 14, 2016

Erdogan's Turkey

"There were about 40 people. It [the bus] slowed down. A car went by us, and 'boom', it exploded."
Dogan Asik, 28 injured in Ankara
Scene of blast in Ankara. 13 March 2016. Picture: Serhat
Serhat: A passer-by took this image shortly after the blast
Once the most stable country bordering the Middle East, under the Islamist Justice and Development party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the country has lurched from stability to insecurity under his ambitious restructuring of a basically Islamic country with a secular government and society to return Turkey to its pre-Ataturk days. Mr. Erdogan's erratic autocratic manner has placed his NATO allies on edge and moved them away from confidence in this new Turkey.

Little wonder that Ankara has experienced three such bomb attacks in a short period of five months, blaming the PKK militants for targeting the capital. An unbiased onlooker might consider those attacks pay-back for the Turkish military bombing of Kurdish villages under pretense of securing the country from the attacks of the outlawed group fighting for a sovereign country for the estimated 40 million Kurds living in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

According to President Erdogan terror groups have taken to targeting Turkish civilians because of their desperation, realizing that they were losing their struggle against Turkish security forces: such attacks "increase our determination to fight terrorism", he stated with the firm conviction that is meant to give Turkish citizens confidence in the decision-making of their government.

In so doing he is also manipulating public opinion as he has done for months, to regard Turkish Kurds as a dangerous problem to be solved by violent force, justifying his decision to resume Turkey's conflict with the PKK, setting aside the fragile peace agreement. A day later, the Turkish military announced air strikes carried out by eleven of its warplanes on 18 targets in northern Iraq, hitting ammunition depots and shelters where the PKK established bases in northern Iraq mountains.

Once an investigation which Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said identified the perpetrators of the attack as the PKG concluded, a determination which he claimed to be "almost certain", the PKK operations were targeted and a round-the-clock curfew declared in three southeast Turkish towns where 'operations' against Kurdish militants were to be conducted. Tellingly, locals left the towns in haste, anticipating those operations.

Ironically, the blast happened on the main boulevard of Ankara, named after Kamel Ataturk. A car believed to have been packed with explosives was detonated beside a bus, causing nearby vehicles to catch fire in an area close to government offices and ministries. Right where riot police are often stationed. The area was quickly sealed off by police with warning a second bomb could be on the scene.
Scene of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, March 13, 2016
The scene of the explosion is a local transport hub: AP

So once-stable Turkey, which has alienated its NATO peers, created an adversary of Russia, stricken with the presence of almost three million Syrian refugees, seen its ally Iran support its neighbour Bashar al-Assad to continue slaughtering Sunni Syrians, facing new threats from the terrorist group it no longer supports, and focusing on its renewed fighting with the Kurds, faces an uncertain future with its economy impacted through its decision to enrage former trading partners.

Can the attack have come as a surprise, given that the American Embassy had warned of a potential plan to attack Turkish government buildings? After all, the U.S. would have had a moral obligation to warn its hosts, as diplomacy demands. While cautioning Americans to have a care and steer clear of the districts housing government departments, why wouldn't Turkish authorities have been prepared to prevent yet another bombing through heightened alerts and restraints?

What they did do, is impose a ban to prevent media organizations from publishing too-graphic images of the blast. And what they will not do is respond to any questions with a whiff of criticism from any opponents of the government. Though by now it will be known that a female PKK member is suspected of having been one of the two attackers, her hand presumably discovered 300 meters from the blast site.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet