Turkish PM on the defensive over charges of failure in Ankara massacre

Turkish PM on the defensive over charges of failure in Ankara massacre

Turkish PM on the defensive over charges of failure in Ankara massacre

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Insistent accusations from opposition leaders over a security failure leading up to the Oct. 10 double suicide bomb attack in Ankara have put Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on the defensive, as he accused the main opposition leader of not lending support to the interim government.

Davutoğlu fiercely ruled out arguments the government “knowingly ignored fulfilling whatever [security measures] were required” in the run up to the attack which killed at least 102 people, dubbing such a claim as “lacking conscience and unreasonable.”

“Other political leaders may also serve as prime minister tomorrow. I am saying this for all prime ministers of the Republic of Turkey: No prime minister and no governmental official would avoid taking measures against a terror organization which they knew would commit a crime,” Davutoğlu told reporters on Oct. 21.

His remarks came as an apparent response to Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who openly and directly accused the caretaker of the interim government, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), of providing “protection” for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), thus paving the way for the Oct. 10 Ankara massacre.

“How did 102 people die? The prime minister confessed that no [security] measure had been taken. Here is my conviction: Actually, the police department knows all about it. Shouldn’t a person who is already wiretapped be tracked?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked in an interview with Samanyolu Haber TV channel late on Oct. 19, while reiterating his conviction that a serious security failure had led to the attack.

According to Davutoğlu, Kılıçdaroğlu now has to give a clear answer for his party’s refusal to take part in the interim government formed by the AKP after the coalition talks failed.

“If he had been this worried, then he would have given ministers to the interim government and exerted efforts to prevent neglect,” Davutoğlu said.

‘White Toros’

The prime minister also argued his remarks over a return of the infamous 1990s were distorted, after opposition party leaders furiously responded to his claims suggesting a government without the AKP would lead to a period similar to the turbulent decade which saw numerous unsolved murders and disappearances, mostly in the predominantly Kurdish-populated eastern and southeastern Anatolia.

“‘White Toros’ were one of the symbols of the ‘90s. It was the AK Parti [AKP] which ended unsolved murders in this country. I haven’t threatened anybody but I said that warlords and ‘terror-lords’ and circles that get support from their support and are referred to with the symbol of the ‘White Toros’ are circles which support each other. It is the AK Parti’s rule which neutralized both entities,” Davutoğlu said. “The days of the ‘White Toros’ are over and they will not return again.” 

White models of the Renault 12-based “Toros,” manufactured in Turkey between the 1970s and 1990s, are infamous for being used by JİTEM, an alleged clandestine intelligence unit within the gendarmerie whose existence has never been confirmed by the military and was accused of countless unsolved murders and disappearances.