Assassination and revenge in Turkey
Turkish media are reporting that the suicide bombings of peaceful pro-Kurdish rallies, which have killed at least 138 people and injured approximately 700 people, are attempts to assassinate Kurdish leader Selhattin Demirtas. This, reportedly, in retaliation for Kobani, Syria. (Kobani is the Kurdish town on the Turkish border where Kurds staged a valiant battle ejecting the Islamic State fanatics. In the battle, the Kurds proved to the international community they are the best, most reliable fighters against the Islamic State.)
Indeed, it is not just Turkish media. According to Hikmet Durgun, a reporter for the Russian news agency Sputnik, ISIS has stationed 100 suicide bombers in Turkey “to assassinate Selhattin Demirtas in order to get revenge for Kobani.” According to the English-language newspaper Today’s Zaman, Durgan foresaw the twin bomb blasts that killed at least 97 people in Ankara on October 10.
Demirtas is co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDK). He is most probably on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hit list as well. Turkish media are awash in speculation that Erdogan’s government is using ISIS as its triggermen. The evidence is the amazing lack of security for the pro-Kurdish rallies in Diyarbakir, Suruc, and Ankara – as well as the tip-offs, such as the ones from Durgan, which have been ignored by the all-pervasive Turkish secret police.
Demirtas would arrive at the top of Erdogan’s hit list because he is a young (42 years old), charismatic Kurdish lawyer who helped lead his party to win 13.12% of the votes in the June general election. That victory gave the HDK party 80 of 550 seats in Parliament. Further, this win denied Erdogan his outright victory, forcing him to try to create a coalition government. Observers believe he made little effort and instead simply called new elections. These will take place in two weeks on November first.
Additionally, Demirtas has the unmitigated gall to run against Erdogan for president. In the June elections, Demirtas came in third, with 9.77% of the vote. As the assassination attempts continue, Demirtas is growing in media visibility. He has tremendous poise in refuting the government’s claims that Kurds are complicit in the bombings. He is calling for calm and encouraging the radically militant wing of Kurds, the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party), to maintain their ceasefire at least until after the elections. Unfortunately, clashes continue with the Turkish military.