Kurds Defiant After Brutal Ankara Bombing

Opposition rhetoric is getting harsher, following the latest deadly bombing in Turkey.  The Kurds’ political leader is challenging the Prime Minister and the President saying, To hell with your ballot box, your seats in Parliament, and your palace.”

The leader of the Kurdish HDP party, Selahattin Demirtas, directed his message to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying, “We will continue our struggle until we put you under the spotlight of independent courts,” apparently meaning The World Court in The Hague. 

This after Prime Minister Davutoglu’s televised national address claiming an arrest for the biggest terrorist attack in Turkish history on October 10.  Davutoglu apparently spent the majority of his airtime condemning the Kurds and insinuating they bombed themselves. The Kurdish leader all but directly accuses PM Davutoglu and President Erdogan of being behind the attacks

In the heart of the capital city of Ankara  Saturday morning, Turkish and Kurdish citizens, members of the mostly Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), members of many labor unions including Doctors with the Turkish Medical Association, members of the Union of Turkish Engineers and Architects gathered outside the train station for a peaceful rally with the slogan “Work, Peace, Democracy.”  At 10:04 AM, before the rally even began a suicide bomber set off a huge explosion followed by another three minutes later.

Latest figures put the number of dead at 100, with between 250 and 500 wounded, and scores still in intensive care. This massacre comes just three weeks prior to Parliamentary elections part deux November first.

This account of the bombing comes from the UK Daily Telegraph

Goksel Ilgin, told The Telegraph how the massive blast erupted right behind him.

“We started dancing the ‘halay’ dance as we were cheerful and determined to promote peace,” said Mr Goksin, who can be seen at the far right of the picture wearing a blue cardigan and jeans. “Then we heard a sudden blast about 15 metres behind us.

"After the explosion I was overcome by shock. I fell on my knees, and couldn't believe what I was seeing. Then 15 seconds later there was a second blast. We saw flags and pieces of bodies flying into the air.

"People were injured and running around unconsciously. It took ten to fifteen minutes for someone to slap me to get over the shock. She told me to walk fast and scream. I did and started to feel better.

"But I will never forget the smell of burned human flesh. Even after I left the scene, I couldn't help feeling it. So my friends made me smell some flowers and perfume to stop it. It took a few hours to smell the air again. I am OK now but I will never forget it."

Readers may recall that just two days before the June 7 general elections a pair of suicide bombs exploded in the Kurdish city of Diyarbkair at an HDP rally, where charismatic leader Demirtas was scheduled to speak.  Four people died in that attack. Kurds believe the government was behind the attack. If so, it backfired.  In the June elections the Kurds’ HDP party won an astonishing 13 percent, giving them for the first time seats in Parliament and denying Erdogan’s Islamic AKP party a majority, thwarting his ambitions for total control of Turkey, Syria and all of Islam as the next Caliphate. (Okay. That last point is speculation!)

Then in July in the town of Suruc, which borders Syria, in the midst of a yet another peaceful rally, this time by mostly young politically active Kurds, another twin bomb attack.  This one, too, suiciders.  32 people were killed.  With each attack the numbers of dead and injured grows.

In the months following his humiliating failure to win another majority, Erdogan’s Islamic AKP party failed to put together a coalition; many think he didn’t try.  Consequently, he’s called for new elections the first of November.  

Despite this latest attack in Ankara, the armed and outlawed Kurdish Workers Party, the PKK, said it will continue with its planned, unilateral ceasefire. In a statement after the Ankara explosions, the PKK said the ceasefire would be implemented.  But it also said the ceasefire depends on there being no attacks on them in the interim, and would hold until elections planned for next month.

The first ceasefire, which began in March of 2013, was ended after the July Suruc bombing. The PKK began a campaign of attacks on soldiers, and police they believed complicit in the spate of bombings.  That campaign revived fears of a renewal of hostilities which saw some 40,000 people killed beginning in the 1970’s

Throughout Turkey tensions are high as large numbers of police are out in force.  Police have the right to shoot on sight, making an after dinner stroll an uneasy affair. Many point to a Twitter picture of a metal ball posted by a Republican Peoples Party Deputy at the scene of the bombing to show that the Ankara and Suruc bombs have the same finger prints. Additionally many are pointing to lack of security for the rally.

Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas in his video statement said about Ankara and government security, “Even if a bird flies in the air the state knows about it.  This is the intelligence agency’s strong hold.”  He said that the rally expected 100-thousand people and yet there was virtually no security. “They purposely let two suicide bombers inside the crowd that wanted peace.  No checking, no security, no nothing.”

And after the bombing, according to Demirtas and eyewitnesses, police fired tear gas and water cannons at doctors and others trying to help the victims. Demirtas asked, “Is this your understanding of Justice?  Shame on you. Leave this country alone. We will save our country from you.”

Some observers believe Erdogan is behind the bombings using the Islamic State terrorist group against the Kurds to further his own ambitions.