The Ankara massacre

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, October 12th, 2015 - 35 comments
Categories: International, iraq, Syria, war - Tags:

ankara turkey protest

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.

35 comments on “The Ankara massacre”

  1. Rosemary McDonald 1

    “Clearly the use of violence is making things worse.”

    Yep.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    False flag?

    • Prime suspect would be the Turkish government or quasi-autonomous branches of it like the military or intelligence services. The PKK, Da’esh and other non-government groups would be much further down my list of suspects.

      • Wayne 2.1.1

        Psycho Milt,

        Is this really likely a bombing by Turkish intelligence services? Or does it simply reflect your prejudice against the Turkish govt?

        There are much more likely suspects who have a recent track record of bombings of this nature.

        • Aaron 2.1.1.1

          Usually a false flag kills ordinary people not ethnic minorities and left wingers. A likely outcome of this event is sympathy for the Kurds, plus 128 new martyrs. I can’t imagine this is what establishment powers like the Turkish government and it’s allies want.

          Of course if your goal is to completely screw up the whole region long term, creating martyrs is one way of doing it.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.1.1

            A likely outcome of this event is sympathy for the Kurds, plus 128 new martyrs.

            But also fear to express one’s belief in peace.

            The people demonstrating were the people most committed to peace. Essentially, the terrorists were bombing the converted. Yes, this will galvanise many, but the many will also be more afraid to demonstrate for peace. It’s like wearing a target on your back.

            Dunno about “false flag”, though. AFAIK nobody’s bothered raising a flag at all over this deplorable act – most of the people who use the term “false flag” are playing fast and loose with the definition, in my experience.

            • Grindlebottom 2.1.1.1.1.1

              It does strike me as odd, even suspicious, that the bombing is being ascribed to ISIL yet so far ISIL hasn’t made any claim of responsibility. They have quickly claimed numerous other bombings that they’ve carried out. It suits their ethos and their mission to create the impression they are everywhere. Their silence on this one suggests they are not responsible.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                That depends on the intent. If I were daesh, increased instability in Turkey would be a military objective that I wouldn’t want people to know about.

                • Grindlebottom

                  Yeah… true. And bringing Turkey, the last caliphate, back into the new caliphate would be a major coup, Bound to be on their long term plan I imagine, whether they were the bombers here or not.

                • Grindlebottom

                  More comment from The Guardian explores different options for who might be responsible:

                  Reacting to the attacks, opposition politicians from the HDP [the main pro-Kurdish Opposition Party] and other parties pointed‎ to previous, similar bomb attacks on HDP party premises round the country. These have been attributed to ultra-nationalist reactionaries opposed to any kind of peaceful compromise with the Kurds. ‎In particular it was noted that Saturday’s bombings followed an attack on the HDP in Diyarbakir, in the mainly Kurdish south-east, in June, when four people died.

                  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/10/turkey-bombing-ankara-many-will-have-seen-this-attack-coming

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Ultra-nationalist reactionaries. Massey’s Cossacks by any other name.

                    Who pays their bills?

                    • Grindlebottom

                      I’m thinking the most important question is whether it genuinely was suicide bombers, because if it was, that suggests to me it was most likely ISIL. Few of the other orgs suggested as possibly responsible are likely to be able to easily persuade members to do themselves in like this. That usually takes extreme fundamentalist belief in the quran and hadiths.

                      I posted a link at 7.2.1.1 quoting police sources saying the bombs used were packs of TNT fortified with metal balls and were similar to one a suspected ISIS suicide bomber used in an attack in the town of Suruc on July 20.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The Surac murders were allegedly the work of Abdurrahman Alagoz “an ethnic Kurd with links to daesh”…

                      Given the documented infiltration of Kurdish resistance groups by Turkish “intelligence”, and the enemy daesh and Turkey share (although I don’t think daesh are very good at sharing), what chance the purported suicide bombers weren’t on Turkey’s radar?

                      A very big chance, I suppose: SNAFU etc…

                      Victory is a funeral, as usual.

        • DH 2.1.1.2

          “There are much more likely suspects “….

          Oh come now, surely you’re not that naive. Erdogan’s party lost its majority in the last election to Kurdish friendly interests. They refused to form a new Government and now they’re due to hold fresh elections.

          Can anyone seriously believe it’s coincidence Turks are being turned against the Kurds under that political climate? Why would the Kurds stir up trouble, they had everything going for them.

          Erdogan is just another thug dictator who’ll stop at nothing to retain his power, he and his mob are by far the most likely suspects.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.3

          this is the same Turkish government which has turned a blind eye to ISIL fighters and ISIL war materiel flowing back and forth across its borders?

          If the Turkish Govt didn’t carry out the bombing it is likely that the ISIL elements which it has been facilitating, and which has been locked in battle with the Kurds in Northern Syria, did.

          So indirect responsibility right there.

        • kenny 2.1.1.4

          Why was there no police presence – it’s like they knew something was going to happen!

        • AmaKiwi 2.1.1.5

          Leaders cannot control all their followers all the time.

          I doubt Obama wanted that hospital bombed. But, like Erdogan, he created the conditions which made it possible. Erdogan is guilty for that. Maybe he is guilty for more, but we probably will never know.

    • infused 2.2

      Yeah wver non mainstream media outlet is saying this. And id believe it in this case.

  3. One Two 3

    You can’t stop war by being involved in it….

    http://m.journal-neo.org/2015/10/10/turkey-is-playing-with-fire/

    The ‘internationalists’ who who openly supported the NZ and other nations involvement against ISIS, were, dupes

    Russia’s involvement has exposed what was readily apparent, from the very beginning

  4. DH 4

    “Clearly the use of violence is making things worse.”

    I think that might depend on whose perspective you’re looking at it from. Erdogan and his cronies will be thinking it’s made things a whole lot better. For them anyway.

    • AmaKiwi 4.1

      Ten years ago many Europeans had confidence Turkey was a safe place to do business.

      That trust is obliterated. That’s very bad news for Erdogan.

  5. Mike the Savage One 5

    The present Turkish government is acting very irresponsible. When they launched some air strikes in Northern Syria not long ago, they seemed to be more focused on bombing the Kurdish YPG than ISIS. They are scared of Kurds becoming more assertive within Turkey and demand more autonomy, so they reacted also extremely when recently attacking and killing many suspected Kurdish fighters and supporters in predominantly Kurdish populated areas inside Turkey. All this is fueling tensions and hatred.

    But this bomb explosion, killing about a hundred peaceful demonstrators and injuring many more will most likely be the work of ISIS. The Islamic State is hell-bent on creating tension and division in other countries, particularly those that support other groups in Syria, who fight I.S.. A destabilised Turkey is what they want, so that the Turks will have enough to deal with within their nation.

    As the Kurdish groups like the YPG are also among the most dedicated and staunch fighters against the I.S. in Syria, they consider Kurds as the enemies, all of them. They consider them infidels, like any other group that does not follow Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and the rest of the I.S. leadership.

    I am sure that this is the work of I.S., as not even Turkish secret agents and so would dare go this far. I.S. have no scruples killing innocents, be they peaceful protesters or others.

    But the government there acts rather stupidly, again intensifying the fight against Kurdish groups that oppose the Turkish government. This is likely to make things much worse, and there may sadly be more of this to come.

    ISIS seem to be able to reach many lone wolf fighters and psychologically disturbed young persons, who may be prepared to do such things as this, even if they have no direct links to the group.

  6. Ad 6

    Erdogan will play the standard tyrants’ card of fear requiring much more control from the state – especially the military, will dampen voter turnout, and generally be a win-win for him at the upcoming election.

    Terrorism is good for the incumbent.

    • AmaKiwi 6.1

      Ad: “Terrorism is good for the incumbent.”

      Not if a significant part of your population (Kurds) become committed to secession from the rest of Turkey. Civil war is the most destructive class of warfare.

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    I feel for the dead, and their families, and their loved ones. The list of potential perpetrators is too long: daesh? Al-Quaeda? Religious nut-jobs of some other flavour? The bloody government, ffs? The notion that the PKK would do this seems preposterous, says my innate pro-Kurdish bias.

    The softness of the target is classic terrorism. So it was probably the USA. (that’s dark humour, I hope)

    • weka 7.1

      cry of the day that last bit.

    • AmaKiwi 7.2

      No. I do not think the USA is even remotely involved. The USA has always wanted a stable Turkey to contain the USSR/Russia. This bombing is a worst case scenario for the USA.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1

        I don’t think it was them either. And I don’t think it was Ergodan, or daesh, or Al Quaeda, or the PKK, or Vladimir bloody Putin for that matter.

        Nor do I think it was common-or-garden right wing terrorism against trades unions and peaceniks.

        What I do think is that the length of the list of credible or at least semi-credible suspects is possibly a bigger tragedy than the act itself. Which means arms-dealers are on the list too.

        • Grindlebottom 7.2.1.1

          I’m wondering if it has actually been confirmed it was suicide bombers. I know this is being reported & this article suggests they were but I don’t know how reliable The Daily Beast or its sources are. If it was definitely suicide bombers that suggests islamic fundamentalist extremists, so most likely ISIL.

          http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/11/isis-suicide-bombers-suspected-in-the-horrific-ankara-attack.html

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1.1

            Was Abdurrahman Alagoz a fundamentalist extremist? Perhaps all suicide bombers fit the description. Who pays their bills?

            • Grindlebottom 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Was Abdurrahman Alagoz a fundamentalist extremist?
              Seems so.
              http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/11755200/Suruc-bomber-was-Turk-with-links-to-Isil.html

              Perhaps all suicide bombers fit the description.
              From what I gather, the great majority of muslim suicide bombers are fundamentalist extremists who consider they are helping expand and defend islam by killing kufirs, who can point to passages in the quran and sunnah that deem their actions both pious and praiseworthy, and who are promised a fantastic reward in heaven by the quran.

              I suppose there might be the odd one who is motivated by something other than fundamentalist belief, like revenge. I think I’ve read of wives or mothers occasionally being suicide bombers after their family members have been killed.

              Who pays their bills?
              ISIL I imagine. They make pretty good money from zakat and jizya taxes, ransoms, oil sales, rich saudis etc.
              http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/whos-funding-isis-wealthy-gulf-angel-investors-officials-say-n208006

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Personally, I think the notion of a Muslim suicide bomber is a red herring, like describing Dick Cheney as a Christian, as though that were his most defining characteristic.

                What defines Palestinian suicide bombers, for example? Their religion? Yeah nah.

                It’s terrorism: those who can’t do it with drones have to do their best by other means, like the FBI exploiting mental illness.

                • Grindlebottom

                  I mention muslim suicide bombers because there have been suicide bombers who’re not muslims, e.g kamikaze pilots & kamizen riders, LTTE Black Tigers and I haven’t looked into how many others carry out suicide attacks and what motivates them.

                  These days the overwhelming majority of suicide bombings or suicide attacks where they start shooting until killed by cops or troops are carried out by people schooled in fundamentalist islamic ideology. Many, I admit, may have other motivations or drivers though, and here’s a really good article explaining some of the reasons people have blown themselves up:
                  http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/what-motivates-suicide-bombers-0

                  But I still believe the final or deciding factor in the shall I do it equation for by far the most suicide bombers is the belief they are destined for great reward in the afterlife.

                  Terrorism can be suicide bombing but it’s not always meant as an act of terror. Sometimes its just mass execution of infidels.

                  • McFlock

                    Who does it as a strategy is a function of who has the least direct military power in assymetric warfare.

                    The afterlife thing seems to me to be based more around the action:consequence rational consideration of distance than any particular motives that might apply to people under duress. The cynic in me says that it’s more difficult to get socioeconomically and culturally alienated teenagers and young adults to not kill themselves than it is to find and equip kids to act as your weapons systems amongst a poor, bombed and starved population.

                    Hell, most spree killers in the continental US aren’t Islamic militants, they’re just middle class kids looking to go out with a bit of power and notoriety.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Professor finds pattern in database, blames politics, not religion. Other professors, studying exactly the same database, have arrived at other conclusions.

                    The FBI example, however, provides evidence* that manipulation can be a motivator.

                    *as distinct from learned speculation.

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