‘Ankara blast may be used as pretext to further escalate war with Kurds’

Emergency workers work at the explosion site in Ankara, Turkey March 13, 2016 © Stringer
It’s likely Turkey will escalate the civil war with the Kurds after the recent bombing in Ankara, and try to use this as an opportunity to advance their claims into Syrian territory, experts told RT.

The Turkish capital has been hit by a second deadly explosion in less than a month - with a car bomb detonated in a crowded part of Ankara on Sunday evening. At least 37 people were killed by the blast and hundreds have been wounded.

Several people have been arrested in connection with the suicide attack. Security officials told Reuters that a 22-year old woman, a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was one of two suspected bombers.

Following the attack, Turkey’s government cut off social media services across the country. President Erdogan told citizens not to worry about the security situation, vowing to "bring the terrorists to their knees.”

The Turkish military said warplanes carried out air strikes on 18 targets in northern Iraq – where the PKK has its bases - early on Monday, Reuters reported.

According to Dr. Sreeram Chaulia, the Dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs, there is now “a danger of a regional spillover across the border into Iraq and Syria.”

“The Turkish military has been carrying on many such raids and operations and so-called invasions in the last several months. I think we are going to see an escalation as far as the Turkish state’s strategy is concerned - instead of correcting the policy mistakes of going after the Kurds, they are actually going to double down on this,” he told RT.

Middle East analyst Firat Demir, and an associate Professor at Oklahoma University recalled that several terrorist attacks were perpetrated against the Turkish people by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS). The two latest bombings were blamed on “the Kurdish rebels,” he said.  

“Turkey has restarted its civil war with the Kurds. Many Kurdish cities are turned into warzones and completely devastated – even cities in Syria look better than those Kurdish cities. And even after six suicide bombings, four of them in the last five months, and this is the third one in Ankara - not one member of the parliament, not one member of the police force, security or secret service or the prime minister or the President will resign,” he said.

Announcements made by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Erdogan indicate that “they will instead escalate the existing civil war with Kurds and attack them; and they will try to use this as an opportunity to advance their claims into the Syrian territory.”

After the February bombing in Ankara, which claimed the lives of at least 30 people, including soldiers and military personnel, the Turkish prime minister said on TV that he was “100 percent sure it was the Syrian Kurds PYD (YPG) behind this attack,” Demir recalled. He added that the Prime Minister “tried to use this as ammunition in their attack on the Syrian Kurds.”  Only a day later, Demir said, it turned out that it “was not PYD who was behind it, but a splinter group from the PKK.”

“[The government] never apologized; they never said it was a mistake or an opportunistic moment. So, the credibility of the current government regarding who is behind this and whoever they finger point is not very high,” he told RT.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.