Is Ankara Really at War with
By Burak Bekdil
August 28, 2016
Failing to name Islamic terror has
cost Turkey hundreds of lives and will likely cost it hundreds more, as the
country's leaders -- and many others, especially in the West -- are still too
demure to call Islamic terror by its name. Without a realistic diagnosis, the
chances of a successful treatment are always close to nil, and Turkey's leaders
stubbornly remain on the wrong side of the right diagnosis.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's
theory that "there
is no Islamic terror," coupled with his persistent arguments
that Islamist radicals hit Europe because of Islamophobia in the Western world,
are not only too remote from reality but have now become a curse in his own
As early as 2014, cars began to be
seen in the streets of Istanbul sporting the black flag of the Islamic State of
Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The same year, Islamists opened a shop selling T-shirts
featuring the same flag. ISIS-related magazines went ahead with open hate
content even though, in March 2014, ISIS spilled its first blood in Turkey when
an ISIS team ambushed
a police checkpoint and killed one police officer, one soldier and one civilian.
realistic diagnosis of Turkey's Islamic terror problem, the chances of
successful treatment are close to nil.
In its first suicide attack on
June 5, 2015, ISIS targeted a pro-Kurdish rally in Diyarbakir, killed four
people and injured 279. It targeted, once again, a pro-Kurdish gathering in July
2015 in Suruc, a small town bordering Syria, killed
more than 30 people and injured more than 100.
When, in October 2015, Islamists
attacked the main train station in Ankara and killed
more than 100 civilians in the worst terror attack in Turkey's history,
Turkish officials were once again too demure to blame it on radical Islamists.
Instead, they invented an unconvincing concept, "cocktail
terror," putting the blame on a mixture of various terror groups.
In a span of just one year,
starting with the Suruc suicide bomb attack in July 2015, ISIS terror attacks in
Turkish soil have killed
265 people and injured 1,256.
In its latest
attack in Turkey on August 21, ISIS did something it had not done before: it
used a child suicide bomber with explosives detonated by a remote controller.
The target was a wedding ceremony in the southern city of Gaziantep; most of the
victims were children, like the suicide bomber himself. More than 50 victims
were killed, of whom 26 were less than 18 years old. Two of the victims had just
This is premeditated,
officially-tolerated murder. Evidence? Between Aug. 14, 2014 and June 29, 2016,
two opposition parties, the social democrat Republican People's Party (CHP) and
the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), appealed to parliament five
times asking for a parliamentary investigation into ISIS and its activities in
Turkey. All five requests were rejected
by the votes of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan's
powerful political machine. Why would a ruling party vote down an investigation
request into a barbaric terror group that has killed hundreds of people in its
own country? But there is more.
In July, slightly more than a
month before the ISIS's child bomber was blown up along with more than 50 others
in Gaziantep, a court in the same city reduced
the jail sentence of an ISIS militant due to "good conduct." Good
conduct?! The man did not even stand before the court, as the police were unable
to apprehend him.
At the end of June, the main
opposition party, CHP, made a parliamentary inquiry into the activities of an
Istanbul-based defense company accused
of having links to ISIS. The opposition claims the SADAT International
Defense Consultancy, established in the early 2000s by soldiers dismissed from
the military due to Islamist activities, offers "irregular warfare
training" in various fields including "intelligence, psychological
warfare, sabotage, raiding, ambushing and assassination." The inquiry said:
"...that special commissioned and non-commissioned officers have begun
working at this company with high salaries, and that in camps irregular warfare
training has been given to ISIS and its derivatives."
SADAT's owner and chief official
is retired Brigadier General Adnan Tanriverdi, widely known for his close
relations with Erdogan and the AKP.
Since the opposition made the
parliamentary inquiry, it has not heard from the government benches about its
request for an investigation into SADAT. But, after the inquiry, the government
made a move. In August Erdogan appointed
Tanriverdi as his chief presidential advisor.
Turkey's war with radical
jihadists is a too demure and reluctant one -- if not fake altogether.