Istanbul bombing another sign Syria, Iraq war spreading to Turkey

Former Turkish lawmaker tells Post the perpetrators seem to have employed a dual strategy: attacking security forces while also damaging Turkey's tourism sector.

By
June 7, 2016 21:16
3 minute read.
Turkey terror attack

A destroyed van is pictured near a Turkish police bus which was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district, Turkey, June 7, 2016. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The war raging in neighboring Syria and Iraq continues to destabilize Turkey as spillover violence and increased fighting with the Kurds risks plunging the country into deeper instability.

“Turkey is the new target of the proxy wars, especially when the latest developments in north Syria and southeastern Anatolia are taken into consideration,” Prof. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, head of the Center for International Strategy and Security Studies at Ankara’s Gazi University told The Jerusalem Post, on Tuesday.

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“The PKK terrorist organization appears to be responsible for this terrorist attack in Istanbul,” he asserted, referring to the Kurdish group active in Turkey and bordering Iraq. He added that some actors are using terrorism to try to influence Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies.

Asked if the latest bombing would push the government to increase military operations in the southeastern Kurdish area, Erol responded, “All these developments’ main aim is to force Turkey into a military intervention in north Syria.”

“Turkey is aware of this dangerous game. So, Ankara is taking steps carefully,” he added.

Dr. Aykan Erdemir, a member of the Turkish parliament from 2011 to 2015, and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Post that this is the third large-scale bomb attack in Istanbul’s tourist districts within the last six months.

“Although the earlier two attacks solely targeted tourists, today’s bomb was aimed at a police bus traveling through the historical district.

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The perpetrators seem to have employed a dual strategy: attacking security forces while also damaging Turkey’s tourism sector,” he said.

The car bomb attack Tuesday took place near the city’s historic Beyazit Square neighborhood, a major tourist attraction, and an Istanbul university building. Seven police and four civilians were killed.

Since January, the number of tourists visiting Istanbul has plummeted by 20 percent, he noted, adding that the city’s hotel occupancy rate is down 50%. “Today’s attack will further hurt Istanbul’s and Turkey’s struggling tourism sector.”

The former Turkish lawmaker went on to say the attack “once again showed that Turkey’s fight against terror, whether it’s against the PKK or the Islamic State, cannot be limited to the country’s southeastern region.”

He predicts that terrorist activity will continue to spill over to his country’s western provinces of the country, and serve as a grim reminder of the ongoing clashes in Turkey’s border area with Syria and Iraq.The war raging in neighboring Syria and Iraq continues to destabilize Turkey as spillover violence and increased fighting with the Kurds risks plunging the country into deeper instability.

“Turkey is the new target of the proxy wars, especially when the latest developments in North Syria and Southeastern Anatolia are taken into consideration,” Prof. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, head of the Center for International Strategy and Security Studies at Gazi University in Ankara told The Jerusalem Post, on Tuesday.

“The PKK terror organization appears to be responsible for this terrorist attack in Istanbul,” he asserted, referring to the Kurdish group active in Turkey and bordering Iraq. He added that some actors are using terrorism to try to influence Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies.

Asked if the latest bombing would push the government increase military operations in the southeastern Kurdish area, Erol responded, “All these developments' main aim is to force Turkey into a military intervention in North Syria.”

“Turkey is aware of this dangerous game. So, Ankara is taking steps carefully,” he added.

Dr. Aykan Erdemir, a member of the Turkish parliament from 2011 to 2015 and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Post that this is the third large-scale bomb attack in Istanbul's tourist districts within the last six months.

“Although the earlier two attacks solely targeted tourists, today's bomb was aimed at a police bus travelling through the historical district. The perpetrators seem to have employed a dual strategy: attacking security forces while also damaging Turkey's tourism sector,” he said.

Since January, the number of tourists visiting Istanbul has declined by 20 percent, he noted, adding that the city's hotel occupancy rate is down 50%. “Today's attack will further hurt Istanbul's and Turkey's struggling tourism sector.”

The former Turkish lawmaker went on to say the attack “once again showed that Turkey's fight against terror, whether it's against the PKK or the Islamic State, cannot be limited to the country's southeastern region.”

He predicts that terrorist activity will continue to spill over to the western provinces of the country and serve as a grim reminder of the ongoing clashes in Turkey's border area with Syria and Iraq.

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