ISSN 2330-717X

Turkey: The Terrorist Attack In Gaziantep And Its Consequences – OpEd

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By Gizem Erbas

On 20 August 2012 a terrorist bomb attack occurred in the city of Gaziantep, Turkey. The attack aimed the Karşıyaka police station at 19:45 in Şehitkamil district, which was one of the most crowded areas in the city. Bombs that were exploded through a remote-control system were planted in a low truck, which killed 9 people and wounded 64 people.

One of the consequences of this attack was the significant reaction of Turkish citizens, not only in Gaziantep but in all over the country. A group of activists gathered in Gaziantep and condemned PKK and Abdullah Ocalan, the former leader of PKK who is imprisoned in Imrali, Turkey. Over 100 protesters attacked the Gaziantep provincial office of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) which was claimed to have strong connections with PKK. The group marched toward the building, and set the building on fire. Police officers later dispersed the group and protected the buildings of BDP. This terrorist attack was condemned by millions of people and by authorities from countries all over the world, such as the USA, UK, Iran and Spain.

Turkey
Turkey

The attack was suspected as an act of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). However, on 21 August, Fırat News Agency, which is not officially related with the terrorist organization but known as having a strong link with the PKK, announced that PKK had denied responsibility for the attack.

The second consequence of the bombing attack, after announcement by PKK contrary to the expectations of authorities, was that it led to a broad investigation by Turkey’s intelligence through the channels of relevant police agencies and National Intelligence Organization (MIT). Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc asserted to CNNTurk News that “This [investigation] is not limited to Syria. We are investigating all foreign elements who may be involved in our geography, including Iran, and others [in the region].”

The third consequence of this attack and investigation was the reaction and the statement of Iran. Hossein Nakavi, spokesperson for the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said that Ankara should concentrate on “its own internal affairs instead of intervening in Syria.” He accused Ankara of supporting terrorist groups in Syria and claimed that Turkey’s support also jeopardizes Turkey’s own safety. These explanations may cause the sensitive political relations between Turkey and Iran to become more fragile.

In August 24, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin has asserted that the investigation is about to be finalized. It was reported that the tow-truck driver who brought the bomb-laden car used in the attack was questioned and he recognized one of the suspects from the photographs, claiming that he was the bomber. The suspect was revealed to be a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) detonation expert of Syrian origin. By the investigation of the police, the suspects who were believed to have placed the bombs were identified after the custody of 8 suspects due to the police raid in Siverek and Mersin.

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JTW

JTW - the Journal of Turkish Weekly - is a respected Turkish news source in English language on international politics. Established in 2004, JTW is published by Ankara-based Turkish think tank International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).

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