Terror in Istanbul – who is behind it? Turkey is classified by an expert


Explosion in IstanbulWho is behind the attack? Turkey is classified by an expert

The explosion in Istanbul on Sunday afternoon shook Europe. At least six people died. Turkey expert Ali Sonay from the University of Bern classifies the situation.

Who is behind the attack? Turkey expert Ali Sonay from the University of Bern assesses the situation.

20 minutes

It’s about it

  • Turkey blames the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the attack. However, the PKK denies responsibility.

  • For Turkey expert Ali Sonay of the University of Bern, the timing is no coincidence. Elections are coming up in Turkey.

  • The type of attack points more to IS as the mastermind. According to the expert, the PKK normally tends to target the military or the police.

How do you assess the situation?

The attack occurred during a turbulent time in Turkey. The country is in an economic crisis, inflation is very high, elections are approaching – presidential and parliamentary in June next year. It is an attack that will strike at the heart of the country’s political debate.

So is it not a coincidence that the attack happened now?

I don’t think it was a coincidence. Assuming that PKK for Attack it is certainly part of their strategy or that of the Syrian branch. According to official reports, the bomber was infiltrated into Turkey by the Syrian branch of the PKK with the aim of carrying out the attack in Istanbul. Of course, the PKK and the Syrian branch want to influence the mood before the elections in Turkey. The Kurdish party is also participating in the elections, which should win seven to ten percent of the vote.

The Turkish government quickly blamed the attack on the PKK. How trustworthy is it?

It is quite real that the PKK has become active again in Turkey. At the same time, however, the government also says that it is possible that YIPPEE is behind the assassination.

The PKK denies responsibility. What do you think?

In the case of attacks on civilian targets, the PKK has already denied responsibility, but PKK affiliates have admitted to the attacks. So it’s entirely possible. The type of attack, on the other hand, speaks more for IS. It is not often that the PKK targets the civilian population in this way. The PKK often targets the military or the police.

Is it conceivable that the Turkish government itself would be involved?

There is constant discussion on social media that part of the Turkish government’s strategy is to create unrest in society in order to gain support for the upcoming elections. But there is currently no indication of that.

Are there other theories as to who is behind the attack?

There are currently no other theories. But the big problem is that the terrorist who allegedly carried out the attack is of Syrian origin. There is a very heated discussion among the population about the Syrian refugees, who are many in Turkey, sometimes with racist undertones. A large part of the Turkish population would like the refugees to return, according to polls.

Will the attack hurt or benefit Erdogan?

That depends on the direction the discussion is going. If the focus is more on the Syrian origin of the terrorists than on the PKK, the pressure on the government will increase. Parties that accuse the government of bringing Syrian refugees to Turkey would then benefit. However, if the discussion was more about the PKK and the topic of security and “fighting terror”, then the government could benefit from this.

What does the attack mean for Turkey?

There will certainly be a state response, whether military, intervening in northern Iraq or in northern Syria, where there are PKK camps. The public will almost certainly demand this as well. The mood of the election campaign will also continue to intensify and the Kurdish party is likely to come under more pressure. Only recently, meetings between representatives of the ruling AKP party and the Kurdish party took place with the hope of new negotiations. This should end now. Thus, polarization is increasing rather than decreasing.

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