Questions that will probably remain unanswered

Questions that will probably remain unanswered

We are seeing a repeat of the same old film. No one in a position of responsibility is stepping forward to shoulder any blame for what amounts to criminal negligence that allowed the perpetrators of Saturday’s massacre in Ankara to carry out their evil plan.  

The interior minister believes there is no cause for him to resign. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan supports him in this, saying this is not a case that requires the minister to resign. The police chief in Ankara and the heads of the relevant security divisions have been temporarily suspended pending an inquiry into the attack. This move is obviously aimed at reducing the pressure on the government.

Another sign of the government’s effort to deflect accusations of criminal negligence came from Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş. He believes this massacre, which left 97 dead and hundreds injured, was engineered by a “higher mind” and points to the involvement of a foreign state.

As usual, though, he did not mention any likely state or provide any information about what led him to say this. It is clear he has no evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, to justify his remarks. He is only exercising the age-old Turkish habit of seeking a foreign hand after all bad occurrences in this country. 

When the situation is reversed, though, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu gets incensed. We saw this clearly when Selahattin Demirtaş, a co-leader of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), accused the Turkish state of being behind this attack, even though he, too, had no evidence to corroborate this claim.

It would be taking matters to their extreme limit to claim that the Turkish state perpetrated this attack. But there are still questions that come to mind which implicate the state in other ways.

The first question that comes to mind here is whether this attack could have been carried out with so much ease and a precision, aiming at securing maximum casualties, if everyone, from the interior minister down, had done their jobs properly. This question will remain on the agenda for some time.

The second question that comes to mind is whether the police and other elements of the state concerned with public safety have been so co-opted by the government, with a view to securing the AKP’s political interests in the lead-up to crucial elections, that they have no time for other matters.

The third question that comes to mind has to do with the profile of the victims of the massacre. This was a gathering of predominantly secular, liberal, and left-wing Turks, Alevis and Kurds, who are seen as enemies of the state by a security establishment known to have right-wing leanings. 

One has to wonder if this had anything to do with the less-than-enthusiastic security provided to the peace march that was to take place before this attack was carried out.

The fourth question to come to mind has to do with our intelligence service, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and whether it has been sleeping since a similar massacre in Suruç in July, especially concerning cells in Turkey associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

We are learning from the media now that some of these cells have been busted and potential suicide bombers have been taken into custody. We also learned from yesterday’s papers that at least one of the suicide bombers on Saturday was known to the authorities. If so, where was MİT all this time? 

If, as Kurtulmuş is claiming, there is a foreign state behind this attack, then was MİT even more negligent than it appears? Many are claiming today that this organ of state feels its only responsibility is to protect the “Palace” and its “keeper.” So, is this true? 

Given that this is Turkey, these are questions that we will most probably never find an answer.