Terrible news from Turkey where a terrorist bomb has killed over a hundred peaceful protestors and injured hundreds of others. Responsibility has not been determined as yet. Some think that ISIS is to blame but there is also mounting criticism of the Turkish authorities for failing to detect and prevent the attack.
The video of the attack is chilling. This is the short version. There are many more distressing longer copies on the web.
The massacre has been met by huge protests. Elections that are scheduled to occur in the near future are in doubt.
The Guardian provides some background:
Saturday’s twin bombings have brought to the fore divisions that have cleaved Turkey between supporters of the government of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), and supporters of the opposition movements that have gained significant ground in recent parliamentary elections.
They exposed deep-seated anger at the government, which demonstrators and mourners directly blamed for failing to protect the rally and which they accused of instigating chaos in order to secure a majority at snap elections scheduled for November.
The protests also highlighted simmering frustration at what many see as long-lasting discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities in the country, such as Kurds and Alevis, who alongside leftist activists featured prominently in the targeted peace rally.
“We now have 128 more bodies,” said Hasan, a Kurdish man who lost a nephew in the bombing while another was severely wounded. He was speaking outside Numune Hospital in central Ankara, where many families of victims as well as volunteers gathered after the attack.
Demonstrators, witnesses, victims’ families and opposition leaders widely condemned the government and in almost all interviews ascribed direct responsibility for the deaths at the feet of Erdogan, saying the police had failed to provide any security measures to protect the rally’s attendees and had even teargassed relatives of the victims as they arrived at the scene of the attack looking for their loved ones. They spoke under condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals by the government.
The demonstration was organised by the pro Kurdish PKK Party and leftist groups demanding an end to the violence between the Kurdish separatist PKK militants and the Turkish government. The announcement of a unilateral ceasefire by the militants was met by further attacks by the Turkish Military that killed a further 49 people. The prospects of peace in Turkey appear to be slim.
With Syria and Iraq descending into chaos and Turkey tottering on the edge the prospect of a new Kurdish nation appearing must be increasing. And you have to question further military intervention by the west in the area. Clearly the use of violence is making things worse.