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February 03, 2013, Sunday

More than an anti-American attack

The suicide bomb that went off at the entrance of the US Embassy in Ankara on Friday, killing two people, sent shockwaves of horror and sorrow across Turkey. The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), virulently anti-American and listed as a terrorist organization by the US and Turkey, claimed responsibility in a statement on the Internet in which it said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was a US “puppet.” Ecevit Şanlı carried out the suicide bombing as an act of “self-sacrifice” on behalf of the DHKP/C, the group claimed. However, columnists mainly argue that anti-American sentiments might not be the only driving force behind the attack and that there must be other aims with regard to current Turkish politics.

Star's Fehmi Koru says Friday's suicide bombing was not a surprise to him because the current direction of Turkish politics provokes further terrorism. Our country is under fire from many directions but we probably forgot about the existence of other terrorist organizations because we are so obsessed with one of them, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Choosing the US Embassy as the target is meaningful. In addition, more people could have been killed if the bomb had been detonated in the visa application hall, where dozens of people were waiting at the time of the incident, rather than at the embassy officers' entrance. This shows that the attack was nothing more than a show of power. It could be the work of the PKK, the DHKP/C, al-Qaeda, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Israel or any other group or country that does not want terrorism to end in Turkey, the columnist notes.

Abdülkadir Selvi from Yeni Şafak says he finds it odd that similar to the recent Paris murders of three Kurdish women who were linked to the PKK, the attack on the US Embassy came right after hopes of ending Turkey's terrorism problem were raised and just like Ömer Güney, the prime suspect of the Paris killings, Şanlı, the embassy suicide bomber, spent a long time in Germany. Also, the DHKP/C's activities are mostly planned in Europe. Therefore, Selvi claims, it must be a deep state in Europe or the European Gladio that carried out the attack.

Some claim that the bombing might be the continuation of the old anti-American tradition in the Turkish left-wing as the DHKP/C is a leftist, Marxist party. However, Kurtuluş Tayiz, a Taraf columnist, does not find the claim realistic. “The practice of suicide bombing is not common in the history of Turkish leftism or the DHKP/C. Suicide bombing is a personal phenomenon based on social reasons. There might be political, social, economic or cultural reasons behind the attack. But calling the attack an anti-American act would be taking the easy way out and an oversimplification.”

The attack on the embassy once again indicates that Ankara is currently the target of many terrorist groups, Milliyet's Fikret Bila says. It is a phase that we have to overcome by taking excessive measures and remaining cautious. There are several reasons why Turkey is the target of terrorist organizations but Bila thinks the most likely one is the conflicts in countries surrounding Turkey.

Previous articles of the columnist