Atrocity sparks calls for Turkish intervention in Syria

By our Turkish correspondent
22 July 2015

An explosion on Monday outside a cultural center in the Turkish town of Suruç, on the border with Syria, killed at least 28 people and wounded more than 100. The main suspect of the suicide bomb is the Islamic State (IS), however, it has not yet taken responsibility.

The explosion occurred at around noon in front of the Amara Culture Center, as some 300 members of the Socialist Youth Association (SGDF) from İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Diyarbakır were issuing a press statement on the reconstruction of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani. SGDF members were preparing to travel to Kobani to help with the reconstruction. Kobani was the scene of fierce battles between Kurdish and IS fighters, and recaptured by Kurdish forces last month.

The terrorist attack in Suruç is a clear provocation, which could trigger ethnic and sectarian clashes within Turkey, while serving as the pretext as well for a Turkish invasion of Syria.

The explosion comes several weeks after the deployment of additional Turkish troops and equipment to its border with Syria. Turkey’s leaders have said they do not plan any unilateral military incursion into Syria, but have also said they will do whatever is necessary to defend the country’s borders. Ankara fears the build-up of a Kurdish-controlled area of northern Syria by the PYD/YPG, an offshoot of the PKK, the Kurdish separatist guerrilla group in Turkey.

The massacre in Suruç is first and foremost a byproduct of the devastating policies of US imperialism, in which Ankara plays an essential role in the Middle East. As everyone knows, the AKP government is the main regional force that fomented the Syrian civil war, supported ISIS for a protracted period, and thus made it possible for the Islamist group to stage terrorist attacks inside Turkey.

ISIS had threatened the Turkish government with attacks after Ankara and Washington exchanged positive signals on the question of using İncirlik Air Base in south-central Turkey for US air strikes against IS. Whether Ankara cuts its covert support to ISIS or not, the AKP government is responsible for dragging Turkey into the bloodbath now taking place in Syria and Iraq.

Some bourgeois politicians and media commentators have already started to say that the government must respond to the terrorist attack in Suruç with the already prepared military intervention into northern Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself declared that now is “the time to act.”

ISIS is only one of dozens of ethnic and sectarian-based proxy organisations in Syria, created by US imperialism and its regional allies like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Turkish ruling elite, itself, has admitted that there are hundreds of Islamist “sleeper cells” within Turkey, and some 5,000 Turkish militants have joined ISIS. In return, with the exception of few token arrests, the AKP government has not done anything against them. Rather, it has equated ISIS and the PKK-PYD and oriented all its fire against the latter. The so-called “Kurdish policy” of the Turkish government is an inseparable part of its proxy war in Syria, based on fomenting ethnic and sectarian divisions and hostility.

In a written statement following the attack, the Interior Ministry said, “We call on everyone to stand together and remain calm in the face of this terrorist attack which targets the unity of our country.”

Meanwhile, in a hypocritical attempt to whitewash the responsibility of his government in the terrorist attack, Erdoğan condemned those behind it. “Terror has no religion, no ethnicity, no nationality, and no country,” he said. “We always stated that an international struggle should be taken up against terrorism, we continue to express this.”

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