Kurdish wedding attack in Turkey

At least 51 people died in a suicide bombing at a Kurdish wedding in the south-eastern Turkish city of Gaziantep on Saturday night. The Turkish government suspects the IS was behind the attack, which according to preliminary investigation results was carried out by a boy aged between 12 and 14 years. Pinning the blame on a child is too simple, commentators write and argue that the government also bears part of the responsibility for the attack.

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Standart (BG) /

No child willingly blows himself up

Children who carry out suicide bombings are not terrorists but victims of terrorists, Standart writes after President Erdoğan blamed a child for the attack:

“Some media described the attacker as a child soldier of the jihad, arguing that children are willing to blow themselves up because they adhere to the IS ideology. Such assertions are neither correct nor adequate to explain the tragedy behind the child's fate. According to the UN, thousands of children have been kidnapped and exploited by radical groups in Iraq and Syria. ... Most of them fall victim to human traffickers. ... Some fall into the hands of radical groups and become child soldiers, as was the case under rebel leader Joseph Kony in Uganda. Others are used for suicide attacks, like the child in Gaziantep.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Failed politics to blame for terror

The government in Ankara bears partial responsibility for the terror attack in Gaziantep, Habertück believes:

“When a country produces such murders, terror and terrorists, what do we have a government and parliament for? Did all of this happen even though everything had been done correctly? Do terror and terrorists come about on their own, independently of politics and all the errors on the part of the state, the politicians and the government? ... If it was the IS, it would never be condemned on its own [by the government]. We've already heard official assertions that it was a joint terrorist attack [by the IS, the PKK and the Gülen network], a collective act carried out by several organisations based outside the country. ... Regardless of who carried out the attack, what is now clear is that certain political-administrative mistakes are made deliberately!”

Milliyet (TR) /

IS took its revenge on the Kurds

The attack at a wedding was directly connected to the war in Syria, the daily paper Milliyet is convinced:

“Once again the targets of the bombing in Gaziantep were Kurds. Why? In revenge for [the liberation of the northern Syrian city of] Manbij. … Who are the main supporters of the coalition powers who drove the IS out of Manbij? The PYD/YPG, or in other words the Syrian Kurds. The relatives of the Turkish Kurds. It is no mere coincidence that the IS carried out its massacre in a Kurdish neighbourhood. It was planned! Perhaps to kill two birds with one stone. Firstly as revenge for Manbij and secondly to foment the Kurdish-Arab conflict. To trigger an ethnic conflict. The most fitting place for this is Gaziantep because both Kurds and Arabs live there in high numbers. They emigrated there from the east and from Syria.”

The Independent (GB) /

Will Erdoğan now reconcile with Assad?

The attack on the Kurdish street wedding may prompt Ankara to change its strategy on Syria, The Independent believes:

“More intriguing, however, is the absence from the [Turkish government's ] list of the one institution which Erdogan has been trying to destroy for the past four years: the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. ... Clearly Erdogan's new love for Mother Russia comes at a price. The Tsar will surely have discussed his own affection for Bashar - and Turkey’s role in trying to crush the Government which Moscow supports with its armed forces - at their mutual summit. Could it be, therefore, that the Sultan is thinking of renewing his old friendship with the Lion of Damascus? Be sure he is. ... But after his jaunt to see Tsar Vladimir at St Petersburg, Sultan Erdogan seems to realise that Turkey has really got to cut down on the number of its enemies.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

President to blame for insecurity

After the attack Erdoğan promised that those who planned it wouldn't manage to incite Turkey's citizens against each other. The Frankfurter Rundschau has its doubts:

“The brutal attack highlights once more how Turkey, caught between IS terror and a state of internal mobilisation against the Gülen movement - declared a ruthless enemy of the state - can't settle down. Turkey is in a civil-war-like situation in which it is not even clear who exactly are the enemies. This is partly due to the country's geopolitical situation. The Turkish-Syrian border region is a crisis zone plagued by the consequences of the war. But the president's grab for authoritarian power has led to internal uncertainty that has the people on tenterhooks too. Turkey's internal security has also fallen victim to Erdoğan's dictatorship of agitation.”