What ISIL wants from Turkey

What ISIL wants from Turkey

The double suicide bombing in Ankara, which went down in history as the worst terrorist attack Turkey has yet seen, killed a hundred innocent citizens of this country. Hence it is imperative for us Turks to understand why this happened, how it happened, and how we can prevent it from happening again. 

But alas, the government instituted a “gag order” on the issue, basically telling the media to shut up. (That is something the government actually wants permanently from the media – or, more precisely, the part of the media that is not enthusiastically pro-government.) Meanwhile, of course, the government itself is above that “gag order.” (“The prince is above the law,” as the Justinian Code put it nicely some 1,500 years ago.) So we do hear from the government everything it wishes to share about “an ongoing investigation.”

One particularly interesting comment in that regard came from Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who said the attack was possibly the work of both the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). He even coined the term “cocktail terror,” implying that the bombs in Ankara were made possible with the collaboration of the PKK, ISIL and even the half-mythical “parallel organization.” 

However, with all due respect to Davuoğlu (and the “gag order”), I must say that this does not make sense. You don’t need a “cocktail” organization to execute a suicide bombing. Moreover, the PKK and ISIL hate each other more than anything else. They are at each other’s throats in northern Syria, and their mutual propaganda only reflects the intense confrontation between them. 

It makes much more sense, in fact, to think that these groups are not “collaborating” against Turkey, but rather fighting each other on Turkish territory. The Ankara crowd that the bombs targeted, like the targets of the two previous bombings in Diyarbakır and Suruç that took place in the past four months, were secular, leftist, pro-Kurdish groups. They were, in other words, certainly not targets of the PKK, and perhaps they were an indirect way to target the PKK. 

Why, then, do we have the “cocktail terrorism” thesis? Probably for propaganda purposes, which are particularly important two weeks before the elections. The thing is, if ISIL gets the whole blame, this will help the propaganda against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which is (wrongly in my view) blamed by the secular opposition for supporting ISIL behind the scenes. On the other hand, if the PKK is also blamed for the carnage, this will help the AKP propaganda against its most strategic rival, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Add to this the nefarious “parallel organization,” and even all other cosmic evil forces, from Zionists to the Illuminati, and you will get a perfectly pro-AKP narrative. 

But we cannot afford to fool ourselves with such bilge because we have to understand what is really happening. In my view, there are two things here. First, The Kurdish-ISIL war in Syria is spilling over into Turkey as ISIL cells hit secular Kurds inside Turkish territory. Second, ISIL is giving a message to the Turkish government, too: I can hit you as well, even right in the middle of your capital. And this probably is a form of “punishment” for the Turkish cooperation with the United States against ISIL.

Finally, ISIL has not claimed responsibility for these bombings, perhaps because it is smart enough to see that we have become a delusional nation that will seek conspiratorial explanations to everything, hating each other even more. Unidentified bombs are a great tool for pumping up our madness.