Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Is this the end of the Turkish Republic? Davutoğlu Blames Ankara Bombings on Islamic State and Resumes Bombing Kurds.

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Downing Street Protest at Ankara Peace Rally Bombing.

Turkey blames Ankara bombings on Islamic State

Guardian.

Prime minister says authorities close to identifying one of suicide attackers who killed at least 128 at peace rally

Turkey is focusing on Islamic State in its investigation into a twin bombing that killed at least 128 people in Ankara, and are close to identifying one of the bombers, the prime minister has said.

Speaking on the Turkish broadcaster NTV, Ahmet Davutoglu said the attack was an attempt to influence the outcome of the country’s general election, due to take place on 1 November, and that necessary steps would be taken if security failures were found to have contributed to the bombing.

“It was definitely a suicide bombing,” he said. “DNA tests are being conducted. It was determined how the suicide bombers got there. We’re close to a name, which points to one group.”

At least 128 people were killed and more than 200 wounded on Saturday when two explosions hit a peace rally organised by several leftist groups, including labour unions and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic party, to call for an end to the escalating violence between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).

The attack is the deadliest in the country’s recent history and was labelled a terrorist act by the government, which declared three days of national mourning.

Then there is,

Turkish air strikes on Kurdish PKK rebels as mourning continues

The Turkish air force has pounded Kurdish militants a day after a deadly bomb attack on a rally for peace in the capital Ankara.

Planes hit Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in both the south-east and over the border in northern Iraq.

Saturday’s twin bombing in Ankara killed at least 95 people, making it the deadliest such attack ever.

Security sources say they suspect the so-called Islamic State (IS) group was behind the attack.

The air force struck after the government rejected a new ceasefire announced by the PKK on Saturday.

Tensions in Turkey were already high, with a general election looming on 1 November.

The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its overall majority in June after gains by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which was involved in Saturday’s rally.

PKK positions were destroyed in the Metina and Zap areas of northern Iraq in Sunday’s air strikes, the Turkish military said.On Saturday, the air force targeted the PKK in Turkey’s Diyarbakir province. Forty-nine people were reported killed in the strikes, but these figures could not be verified independently.

“The PKK ceasefire means nothing for us,” one senior Turkish security official told Reuters news agency. “The operations will continue without a break.”

Whether there was Turkish state complicity in the Ankara atrocity – which continues to sear the hearts of millions throughout the world – is not clear.

Islamism, in all its shapes and forms, is the enemy of the left and all people of good will.

*******

This is well worth reading:

Ankara bombing and the end of the Turkish Republic

What we have witnessed in the last two years, culminating in the horrible scenes of 10 October in Ankara, is the end of the Turkish Republic as we know it.

..the last of these moments was experienced during the rule of none other than Erdogan when his Justice and Development Party (AKP) embarked on a peace process with the Kurds, the so-called “democratic opening” process which lasted in fits and starts until the beginning of 2015. True, the reforms the state undertook were more cosmetic than concrete; the process itself was top-down, opaque and subject to the whims of two “men”, Erdogan and Abdullah Öcalan, the incarcerated leader of the PKK. Yet the ceasefire between Turkish armed forces and the PKK lasted more than two years, and many believed that the process was irreversible, whatever the (real) intentions of the actors involved.

In the long-run, it probably is irreversible. That it was not in the short-run has been proven by the events that have unfolded since the collapse of the ceasefire in the wake of the now defunct June 7 elections.

What is more, it is not only the Kurds that the AKP and its unquestioned leader Erdogan have alienated. Trampling on every faultline that divides the society, the AKP has managed to turn the liberals, leftists, ultra-nationalists (of all hues), Alevis, secularists, other political Islamists (including its one-time ally, the Gulen community) against itself, running the country relying only on a loyal constituency which is still enough to give it a majority in the parliament.

But the country it runs is not the country it took over in 2002. “The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in” (be it the army, or common ideals, common symbols – you name it), to borrow from the lyrics of a famous Pink Floyd song, is no longer there. The armageddon, if it has not already happened at Gezi or Suruc, or indeed Ankara, is nearby.

The bottom line may not be pleasant to hear for some, but it needs to said out loud: what we have been witnessing in the last couple of years, the culmination of which were the horrible scenes we were exposed to on 10 October in Ankara, is the end of the Turkish Republic as we know it. This does not mean that the territorial integrity of the country will be forfeited. But the anger that pits half of the society against the other is too intense, the divisions that run through various ethnic, religious or ideological groups are too deep to paper over. Moreover, as I have alluded to above, the quest of the Kurds for the full recognition of their identity and rights, especially in the context of the developments in Iraq and Syria, is in the long-run irreversible. Whatever the results of the forthcoming November 1 elections (assuming that they will be held), Turkey will embark on a long and possibly painful journey to a “less unitary”, less centralized system.

On 10 October, Simon Tisdall observes in the article I have mentioned earlier, “Turkey, suffering the impact of the worst ever terror outrage on its soil, is a nation in shock. But it is also a nation living in fear.” Unfortunately, Tisdall is wrong, for Turkey is not a nation in the conventional sense of the term any more.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 12, 2015 at 11:52 am

2 Responses

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  1. From an excellent post in LeftEast

    Those versed in Turkish politics will immediately recognize the trope of the agent provocateur. Kurdish leaders have not been its only target. The Alevi and leftist intellectuals massacred at the Madımak Hotel in Sivas in 1994 could tell a tale of such revisionist history, as could the staff of the old-line secularist newspaper Cumhuriyet (“Republic”), whose prominent columnist İlhan Selçuk, then eighty-three years old, was arrested in 2008 on suspicion of planning on attack on his own paper for the sake of instigating a military coup. In general the Balyoz and Ergenekon conspiracy trials concluded in 2013 (and voided soon afterward when the AKP and its Gülenist allies in the police and judiciary turned against each other) deepened Turks’ appreciation of the plausibility of self-inflicted wounds.

    But this genre of accusation has really come into its prime in the long series of attacks on HDP gatherings, headquarters and sympathizers over the course of this year, after which the AKP unfailingly waxes high-minded about “terrorism,” by which its target audience is expected to hear “Kurds.”

    So it was yesterday evening in Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s speech to the press, in which every fifth word or so was “terror” or “terrorism,” climaxing in a threat aimed at Demirtaş. “If he turns the pain of our citizens who lost their lives to terror today into a call for civil war, if he says, ‘this is a crime of the state against the people’ and invites the people to revolt against the state, then this stance…will be investigated, prosecuted, and sentenced.” Davutoğlu promised that, “if anyone should demand vengeance I am here, I am in Diyarbakır, in Konya, I am everywhere in Turkey.” It is not hard to guess from whom vengeance will be taken.

    http://www.criticatac.ro/lefteast/turkey-tianenmen-in-context/

  2. This development in Syria – involving the Kurdish forces – is of significance:

    “A Kurdish militia that has been fighting Islamic State in Syria with help from U.S.-led air strikes has joined forces with Arab groups in an alliance announced on Monday that may be a prelude to an attack on the jihadists’ base of operations in Raqqa.

    The alliance calling itself the Democratic Forces of Syria includes the Kurdish YPG militia and Syrian Arab groups, some of which fought alongside it in a campaign that drove Islamic State from wide areas of northern Syria earlier this year.

    The Arab groups in the new alliance are operating under the name “The Syrian Arab Coalition” – a grouping which U.S. officials have said would receive support under a new U.S. strategy aimed at fighting Islamic State in Syria.

    A U.S. military official has told Reuters that the Syrian Arab Coalition would push down towards Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto capital, while staying east of the Euphrates river.

    Keeping the YPG-backed force east of the river could ease Turkish concerns about any further expansion of Kurdish influence in northern Syria. Turkey is worried about the Kurds’ growing power in Syria fuelling separatism among its own Kurds.

    The United States last week announced a shake-up of its support to Syrian rebels fighting IS, effectively ending its program to train fighters outside Syria and focusing instead on providing weapons to groups whose commanders have been U.S.-vetted.

    The YPG has to date proved the most effective partner on the ground for U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State. By deepening ties with groups from Syria’s Arab majority, it could deflect concern among some Arabs that it exists solely to fight for the interests of Kurds.

    The YPG drove deep into Raqqa province earlier this year, but stopped short of advancing on Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa city, saying it wanted Syrian Arab rebels to lead such an assault.

    The new alliance includes the YPG, various Arab groups including Jaysh al-Thuwwar (Army of Rebels) and the Arab tribal Jaysh al-Sanadeed, and an Assyrian Christian group, according to a statement announcing its establishment.

    “The sensitive stage our country Syria is going through and rapid developments on the military and political front … require that there be a united national military force for all Syrians, joining Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs and other groups,” said the statement, which was sent to Reuters by a YPG spokesman.

    “Given that these forces in general are democratic and secular forces that believe to a great degree in diversity, we hope that they will receive support” from the U.S.-led coalition, said Nasir Haj Mansour, an official in the defense ministry of the Kurdish administration in YPG-held territory.

    “The current goal in practical terms is to confront Daesh, given that it is the first enemy, but the goal is also to build a democratic Syria in the future,” he said by telephone, using an acronym for Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/12/us-mideast-crisis-syria-kurds-idUSKCN0S60BD20151012

    Andrew Coates

    October 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm


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