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.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

When Violence Begets Violence

"The explosion catapulted me out of bed. It was massive. I also heard the sounds of gunshots right afterwards."
"When I went out to look it was an awful scene. People were sprawled on the ground, many had lost limbs, there was blood everywhere."
Nearby restaurant worker, 22, Istanbul, June 7, 2016

"I survived two bomb attacks in Ankara, and now this."
 "The blast ripped it [an umbrella] from my hand, I was left with only the handle. A building between me and the bomb protected me. So many people are dying. It’s terrible, it needs to stop."
Local umbrella seller

"The differentiation that the terrorist organization makes between civilians, soldiers and police officers is meaningless. In the end these [attacks] target human beings [whose] duty it is to protect the people of this country."
"These attacks cannot be pardoned or forgiven. We will keep fighting tirelessly against those terrorists until the end. We are devastated, but there is a price to pay for everything."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey Attack
Turkish security officials and firefighters work at the explosion site after a bus carrying riot police official was struck by a bomb in Istanbul, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. At least five police officers were wounded. The blast occurred at a busy intersection near an Istanbul University building in the city's Beyazit district during the morning rush hour. (DHA via AP) TURKEY OUT

"Tourism has already gone down over the past months."
"Since the downing of the [Russian fighter jet last year], the numbers of visitors have gone down, but these bomb attacks make it worse every time. But Turkey is a strong country, we will not let outside powers weaken us."
Zeki, 33, local hotel worker

"We are used to these explosion now, they made us get used to them."
"Our government isn’t interested in our safety, they’re interested in how many children a woman should have."
Local textile shopkeeper, 60
It's a bit rich for Mr. Erdogan to invoke the rage he feels over police being targeted by militias hitting back at the Turkish regime for dispatching the Turkish military to violently attack Kurdish villages, destroying homes and buildings, sending residents into flight from danger and in the process killing and wounding civilian Kurdish Turks in the regime's search for members of the PKK in the predominantly Kurdish landscape of the south-east in Turkey.

Since he made his decision to tear up the uneasy peace treaty with Turkish Kurds, Mr. Erdogan has tasked his military to attack his own civilian Kurds in an effort to destroy the PKK, and attacks on Syrian Kurds whom he blames for supporting the PKK (and it would be st range if they did not, since their mutual all-consuming interest is in the historical right to have sovereignty over their own geography, theirs by right of heritage).

The Kurds respond by charging that President Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development administration have been instrumental in aiding the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant into Sunni prominence in their caliphate established in Iraq and Syria. Mr. Erdogan may rationalize that a fanatical Sunni presence is far preferable to a fanatical Shiite regime in the region, but both are equally viciously repugnant, and the Turkish President's own proclivity to violence against his own seems a fair reflection of the Syrian regime's.

The entirely reasonable concerns over the potential of ongoing terror attacks as spillovers from Syria and Iraq and carried on in Turkey's south-east has led to a decline in tourists, a major income source for Turkey. The proportion of visitors to Turkey has declined by 28% in comparison to the same month last year, according to the Turkish tourism ministry. No one visiting another country for rest and relaxation and tourism is anxious to find themselves caught in an explosive blast.

Tuesday morning's attack in central Istanbul was targeted at a police vehicle, and succeeded in killing seven police officers, and as well four civilians. There are four suspects now in custody, two of them women. They had rented the car they used in the bombing. The police bus was destroyed. In the process 36 other people were wounded, several left in seriously critical condition. The bomb had been placed in the car and detonated just as the police bus passed by.

The force of the blast overturned the police bus and damaged nearby buildings. A closed hotel's entrance and facade was gutted, its windows blown out. Windows at a famed 16th-Century Ottoman mosque -- Sehzadebasi -- were shattered, cars were destroyed and at a building nearby of Istanbul University exams were cancelled.

No question, according to Recep Tayyip Erdogan; it is more than clear to him that armed Kurdish militants were involved. Previous Ankara attacks this year had been claimed by an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' party, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons. Certainly if they're once again responsible for the latest attack, they'll be quick to make the public statement of having once again wounded the country that denies them their autonomy.
"We were told that it was police [gunfire at the scene of the blast] trying to keep people away from the blast scene."
"I felt the pressure as if the ground beneath me moved. I've never felt anything this powerful before."
Mustafa Celik, 51, tourism agency owner
Fire engines stand beside a Turkish police bus which was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district, Turkey, June 7, 2016.   Reuters/Osman Orsal

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