MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK

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MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK
February 13, 2013, Wednesday

Little known about deadly blast, many worries

Little has been revealed about Monday's deadly car bomb on Turkey's border with Syria, which heightened fears that the Syrian civil war may spill over into its neighbor.

The vehicle exploded at the Cilvegözü border gate, opposite the rebel-held Syrian gate of Bab al-Hawa, killing 14 and wounding dozens more. Although the attack appeared to have targeted a Syrian National Council (SNC) opposition delegation, Turkish politicians and columnists have said it is too early to apportion blame.

Nazlı Ilıcak, a Sabah columnist, says that regardless of who staged the attack and why, one thing is clear, and that is that Turkey is the neighboring country which is suffering the most damage from the Syrian crisis.

Radikal's Cengiz Çandar complains that foreign relations experts started appearing on TV programs immediately after the explosion took place, commenting on possible scenarios regarding the attack. Many claim that Monday's attack was connected to the recent attack on the US Embassy in Ankara and the killings of Kurdish activists in Paris. Of course, being a confused yet talkative society is preferable to being a mute and passive society, Çandar says, but knowing what you are talking about is best, he notes. “Do we know the answers to the questions of who staged the attack on the Cilvegözü border gate and why? We don't know anything for certain yet. What we know for sure is that the vehicle that exploded had Syrian license plates and that the explosion occurred 10 minutes before a SNC delegation arrived at the site of the incident. These facts surely suggest that the Syrian regime's intelligence agency might be behind the attack and that the target was the influential figures of the Syrian opposition. But if this is true, then it means that the regime knew that the SNC delegation would pass through Cilvegözü at that time and so it means that the regime has infiltrated the opposition. However, foreign affairs is too important an issue on which to make conclusions based on assumptions. First we need to know more, and we need to be sure,” the columnist says.

Yeni Şafak's İbrahim Karagül agrees with Çandar in his call to wait for more definite information regarding the attack before jumping to conclusions. However, he believes that as long as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues with his determination to solve the country's terrorism problem, as shown by Erdoğan's comments -- “If they asked me to take poison, I would even do this [to end terrorism], too. Even if I know I could die or my political life would come to end, I am ready to take all these risks, and I would take that poison without considering the consequences” -- other powers will always attempt to fill the void the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) will create. "Unfortunately the political system in the world and countries seeking power always serve the interests of terrorist organizations. The majority of such organizations manage to survive thanks to these countries and not the social or ideological demands of the organizations. Countries feed the terrorism problem, just as Syria, more than any other country lately, constitutes a threat to Turkey's peace efforts,” Karagül says.

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