Who is behind the Ankara attacks?
The militant Kurdish group TAK has admitted carrying out an attack that killed 28 people in Ankara last week. The Turkish government had blamed the PKK and its Syrian offshoot the YPG for the bombing. Some commentators still see the YPG as the mastermind. Others say it is innocent and suspect a deliberate strategy behind the Turkish government's rhetoric.
Turkey will accept terror with a shrug
Terrorist attacks will soon be as much of an everyday occurence in Turkey as they are in the Middle East, the liberal Islamic daily Today's Zaman warns:
“Our approach to the massacres in Reyhanlı, Suruç, Diyarbakır and Ankara is becoming increasingly similar to those shown in Iraq or Pakistan. We no longer mourn these attacks. The offenders go unpunished. Despite obvious acts of negligence, no one assumes any responsibility. Weaknesses are not investigated. The media is banned from discussing the matter. After the funerals, life goes on as though nothing has happened. ... If we continue in this way, our end is obvious: We will end up in the Middle East league along with countries like Iraq and Syria despite our 200-year-old modernization process and membership in the Council of Europe (CoE), NATO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and all other Western institutions.”
Some Kurds willing to make any pact for their own goals
Certain radical Kurdish groups really do have an interest in the conflict escalating, the conservative daily Die Welt writes, commenting on the Turkish government's statements that Kurdish militias were behind the attack:
“These are the Kurds who want to make Turkey a warring party and sink it deeper in the Syrian quagmire, so as to destabilise the so-called 'deep state'. This is the hour of certain Kurds - because there is no such thing as 'the Kurds'. A heterogeneous ethnic group of more than 30 million people, the largest without its own state. ... But now their time has come and they are being courted from all sides: by the Europeans, the Americans, the Syrian resistance fighters trying to bring down the regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad. ... The Kurds are everybody's darling now. But of course the antagonistic and rival Kurdish factions are vying for power and influence, not the least in the interests of forming a supra-national entity. And any pact that will further this goal is legitimate in their eyes.”
Ankara determined to pin responsibility on YPG
The Turkish leadership's statements that Syrian Kurdish YPG is to blame the attack is nothing but a diplomatic gambit, the liberal news website Radikal believes:
“Under normal circumstances the state wouldn't hesitate to blame the PKK or the [terrorist organisation Kurdish Freedom Falcons] TAK. But this this time it hasn't made any mention of these two organisations, preferring to use the term 'the YPG with the help of local terrorists' instead . ... This was a deliberate choice and above all an attempt to use this tragic event as a diplomatic lever. ... Can Turkey win over international public opinion, whose support it had lost with the bombing of the YPG near Azas [in north-west Syria]? Can the government put pressure on the US, which backs the YPG, by using this attack as a diplomatic lever?”
Unforseeable consequences of terror in Turkey
It comes as no surprise that Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan very quickly pinned the blame for the attack on Kurds, the liberal business paper Hospodářské noviny believes, adding that political calculations on Ankara's part could have dangerous ramifications for other Nato members:
“If you believe the opposition papers in Turkey, the government needs a pretext for deploying military forces on its border with Syria. That could extend the conflict beyond its current regional dimensions. Turkey would then be able to target the Syrian Kurds who are gaining ground thanks to Russian air support. Who's to say that Turks and Russians won't clash in Syria as a result? Such scenarios are now keeping many people at the Nato and EU headquarters in Brussels busy. Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Alliance. The conflict it would be getting involved in would also affect other members of the Alliance due to Article 5 on collective defence.”