As a string of suicide attacks on Ankara and Istanbul have made abundantly clear, Turkey is in a state of turmoil. In fact, one might fairly say that the country has descended into outright chaos.
Today’s bombing of Istiklal Caddesi was just the latest tragedy to strike one of Turkey’s urban centers. Images from the aftermath of the blast are, much like those that appeared on social media in the wake of last Sunday’s TAK attack on a transit hub in Ankara’s Kizilay, horrific.
It’s important that the world consider why this is happening. Whether these are false flags or actual PKK/TAK attacks is irrelevant. The critical thing to understand is that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is allegedly committing genocide against the country’s Kurdish population. Does that excuse suicide attacks staged by Kurdish militants? Obviously not, but what’s happening in the country’s Kurdish southeast is appalling.
“Between August and February, the Turkish army -which has mobilised 10,000 troops to smoke out PKK militants - has imposed 59 curfews in the cities of Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Mardin, Hakkari, Mus, Elazig and Batman, affecting 1.3 million people,” France 24 writes, adding that “in Cizre, where a curfew was lifted earlier this month, 80% of the city has been destroyed.”
“Cizre has spent years on the fringes of war. The unremarkable-looking town of just over 100,000 lies on the Tigris River, around 30 miles from the tripoint where Turkey meets conflict-ravaged Syria and Iraq, and violence regularly strays over the national boundaries. Now, the cycle of airstrikes and renewed PKK attacks on Turkish troops threaten a return to the three-decade-long struggle between the two sides that claimed more than 40,000 lives. And here, residents feel like they're at the heart of the fight.”
Last month, allegations emerged that Turkish soldiers had encircled a burning apartment building in the city. Hundreds of people were trapped inside. According to some reports (see here and here to suggest a few) they were burned alive. Below, find footage from January which appears to show the Turkish military firing on a group of Kurds in Cizre who look to be crossing the street waving a white flag.
Two days ago, the Obama administration accused ISIS of committing genocide. Where, one might ask, is the accountability for Washington's NATO ally Erdogan?