How should Ankara react to attacks?
At least 44 people, including 36 police officers, lost their lives in two attacks near Istanbul's Beşiktaş stadium on Saturday night. The PKK splinter group TAK has claimed responsibility for the blasts. Commentators discuss the reasons for the terror and call on Ankara to seek a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict.
Revenge for Turkey's Syria operations
The attacks are an act of revenge for Ankara's policies at home and abroad, pro-government columnist Abdulkadir Selvi writes in Hürriyet:
“The first hasty assessments established parallels between the act and the day it was committed, when the constitutional amendments on the presidential system were submitted to parliament. ... But that can't be the only reason. ... [The Turkish military's] Operation Euphrates Shield has frustrated the PKK's plans in Syria. The PKK-YPG, which with US consent is setting up a corridor between Manbij and Afrin to link Kobanî with Afrin and ultimately march into al-Raqqah, has suffered a major setback. ... The organisation has been waiting for the chance to commit a spectacular attack for some time, and now it has struck us in Istanbul. It has adopted a new tactic aimed at forcing Turkey to its knees.”
Kurdish question requires a political solution
Eradicating the "plague of terrorism" is now at the top of the political agenda, President Erdoğan stated after the twin attacks in Istanbul. But it would be better to seek a political solution with the Kurds, The Independent urges:
“This instinct to strike back against Kurdish separatists militarily - and often beyond the rule of law or even the rules of war - is one of the many dangerous threats. ... Without wishing a geographical break-up of Turkey, the only sustained answer to the Kurdish question lies in a political settlement - and, episodically, peace initiatives have succeeded. The difference between the PKK and its political arms and the so-called Islamic State is that there is at least the possibility that the Kurdish cause can be settled peacefully. The PKK has no ambition to establish some medieval caliphate in Ankara.”
Terrorism strengthens Erdoğan
The Turkish president will try to exploit the terror for his political goals, Der Standard predicts:
“Every terrorist attack that is blamed on the Kurdish underground army PKK strengthens the new nationalist-Islamic alliance in Turkey. This alliance wants a military solution to the Kurdish question and the reintroduction of the death penalty; it is working for a return to an authoritarian state like in the 1930s and 40s under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his successor Ismet Inönü, and to that end it is even ready to give up the EU membership project. … For the Kurds this turn of the political tide within less than two years is disastrous. An entire generation of young Kurds has turned its back on the Turkish state. They are now the PKK's reservoir.”
EU must be more lenient with Ankara
The EU must ease up on its demand that Ankara relax its terror laws, Handelsblatt urges:
“There is no question that the Turkish laws aimed at preventing and punishing terrorist threats are harsh, sometimes too harsh. What's more, they are being applied too liberally. In the state of emergency people are behind bars in Turkey who should never have been put there. Nevertheless, with its insistence that the controversial counter-terrorism laws should be watered down the EU is misjudging the situation in Turkey. And it is underscoring the disorientation of the leaders in Brussels as to how their 'partner' on the refugee issue should be perceived. Namely as a provider of border security services rather than as a fully-fledged partner. Diplomatic subtlety would consist in abandoning such demands for the present.”