By Dr. M. Koohzad:
The Turkish Tyrant President Erdogan did not devise state sponsored terrorism. It was Ataturk, Father of the Turkish Republic, out of fear of the non-Turks, who applied this tactic to control the Kurdish uprisings. General Ataturk was the first to commit genocides against the Kurds. The Turkish reign of terror has been going on since the early 1920s. As a Kemalist Islamist-fascist, soon-to-be-Sultan Erdogan reintroduced and intensified his state terrorism and fear mongering in 2015. He must remember a few of the noteworthy dates and events in his life. Two of the most recent, important events of Erdogan’s life must have been the June 7, 2015 election and the coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
On June 7, 2015, his Salafi-Islamist ruling party, AKP, lost its Parliamentary majority to a new Kurdish political party, HDP. This most significant peaceful achievement by the Kurds on that day was translated into Erdogan’s major failure. Koohzad (June 15, 2015) called this chapter of Kurdish struggle: “Moving From Bullets to Ballots.” He added, “After hearing the news, for the first time in over a dozen years, President Erdogan disappeared, went silent, and shed a few drops of tears for losing the majority status in the Grand Turkish National Assembly. He was most upset because he could not become an absolute Sultan of the country. Those who previously voted for him and his party had become fed up with his lies, deceptions, and involvement in Jihadist terrorism.”
In a short time, Erdogan retaliated by instigating a reign of terror to frighten the general public, especially the Kurds, and to support his party in a snap election that followed. He told the Turks that they had to support his party’s agenda. Otherwise, there would be a political and economic crisis, chaos, instability, and bloodshed. This threat of state terrorism worked for him. He was able to force the nationalists, and even some secularists and Kurds, to vote for him in November. From this experience, he learned that the Turks wanted stability at any cost under his Islamist regime. This was a valuable lesson for his terrorist political party. Even after victory in the snap election, Erdogan’s state sponsored terrorism within the country not only continued but also increased.
With the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, Erdogan’s reign of terror intensified. His counter-coup measures went so far that NATO members objected to his brutality. Hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent Turks have been purged and detained. Some of them have been tortured and raped by the Islamist regime’s interrogators. Turkey has become the world’s largest political prison. The state of emergency has been extended for another three months so that he can continue with his state terrorism and is allowed to accuse, arrest and brutalize his assumed enemies and whoever disagrees with his Islamist policies. In addition, he is seriously attempting to bring back the death penalty so as to remove any resistance towards his regime’s oppression.
Actually, by the summer of 2014 Turkey was on its way to becoming the newest “failed state” in the Middle East, Southwest Asia and North Africa. Politically speaking, today Turkey is not very different to terrorist-ridden countries such as Somalia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. In Turkey, it is the state that is committing acts of terrorism against its own citizens. Between 2015-2016, the largest numbers of Kurdish people in the world have been killed in Turkey under a direct order of the tyrant Turkish President Erdogan. Using helicopters and tanks in the cities of Kurdistan, soon-to-be-Sultan Erdogan has ordered a full-scale war against defenseless Kurds. He has been able to terrorize anybody who does not like him.
This article has reasons to argue that Erdogan’s bloody regime has been using state terrorism to intimidate Turkey’s general public, particularly the Kurds and those who disagree with his Islamist agenda. It is believed that this policy has suppressed basic freedom and human rights of the people in Turkey. Unfortunately for the Turks, Erdogan’s reign of terror will continue until he becomes a full-Sultan/Caliph and beyond. He will reintroduce state terrorism any time he is threatened. In a perpetual war against the Kurds, he will not modify or stop his state terrorism.
The following will contain a brief discussion of terrorist attacks in 2015, and then the 22 terrorist attacks in 2016 will be briefly discussed. Examining terrorist assaults during the first few days of 2017 will then follow. Next, ‘terrorist groups’ in Turkey will be introduced. Finally, some concluding remarks will be provided.
2015 was a year when ISIS killed the largest number of mostly innocent Kurds ever, with Erdogan’s approval. The ISIS attackers were helped by the MIT, Turkish secret police. The attackers executed what was planned by the regime. If in some cases the attackers were not directly helped, they were stopped. Turkish authorities provided their Jihadist friends with access to Kurdish communities. Direct government attacks and ISIS bombings on the Kurds intensified after the June 7 election that resulted in Erdogan’s party losing the majority in the Turkish Parliament.
On January 26, 2015, after 134 days of fighting, the YPG, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters from Syria, also known as the People’s Protection Units, took control of the Kurdish city of Kobani, now entitled The Kurdish Stalingrad, from ISIS. Turkey was one of the founding fathers of this so-called Islamic State. As a terrorist state, the Turkish regime was hoping for the fall of this city and a massacre of its population. On July 20, 2015, the Suruc Massacre happened. An explosion killed 33 mostly young Kurdish people in the city of Suruc in southeastern Turkey, near the border with Syria. Suruc lies across the border from the Syrian city of Kobani, which had seen heavy fighting between Kurdish forces and Islamic State militants. The young Kurds were planning to go Kobani to help with the reconstruction of the city. On October 10, 2015, two explosions at a peace rally of mostly Kurds in the Turkish capital of Ankara killed at least 95 people and injured 245. This is the largest number of innocent civilians killed and wounded in Turkey on a single day, due to a terrorist attack.
On December 13, 2015, the Kurdish cities of Cizre and Silopi, 30 km (19 miles) away near the Iraqi border, were put under a round-the-clock curfew by Ankara. Many parts of the Kurdish region have been without electricity and water. Even the sick and the wounded were not allowed to go to the hospital. Unlike the PKK insurgency of the early 1980s that was mainly fought in the countryside, the latest uprising of the Kurds is concentrated in urban areas where the PKK youth wing set up barricades and dug trenches to keep security forces out. Before the end of the year, on December 31, 2015, Turkish President Erdogan vowed not to stop a military campaign against the Kurds which he said had killed more than three thousand that year in some of the heaviest fighting since their insurgency began three decades ago due to Turkish state terrorism.
Professor James Petras (December 16, 2015) believed that Erdogan was a “backstabbing” Turkish Ottoman Pasha. According to him, Erdogan “has a long and ignoble history of betraying political associates, trading partners and military allies; of pledging friendship and then bombing his ‘friends’ and murdering citizens…Erdogan became more rabidly ‘Islamist’, chauvinistic and megalomaniacal – ‘Neo-Ottoman.” He concluded “Erdogan’s road to absolutist power is strewn with indiscriminate purges, terror and deceit; violence against environmental and liberal protestors…terror bombing against activists and democrats; and war against Kurds.”
Joshua Tartakovsky (December 30, 2015) dealt with “Erdogan’s Turkey” that was angry and hungry for respect. He thought “Erdogan’s Turkey views itself as a victim of Russia… Erdogan’s Turkey which is aiding and trading with the Islamic State while presenting itself as a victim of false accusations… Erdogan’s Turkey is hoping to regain the pre-1917 Ottoman lands across the border and/or to reunite with its brothers the Turkmen in Syria… Erdogan’s Turkey invades Syrian territory illegally, just as it did in Iraq, under the full protection of NATO.”
Stephen Lendman (January 05, 2016) reported “Ankara using tanks, artillery, warplanes, attack helicopters and thousands of combat troops in heavily populated areas. Civilians suffer most. According to news media, Erdogan has acknowledged that the Turkish security forces have killed 3,100 Kurds, mostly noncombatant civilians since the summer of 2015. David L. Phillips (January 6, 2016) informed his readers that for Erdogan’s case, “Washington’s deplorable silence makes it complicit in Erdogan’s crimes.” Sadly, the Pasha-President Erdogan’s reign of terror was in full swing and unfortunately continued into the future.
2016 Terrorist Assaults:
2016 was a bloody year when a large number of Kurds, Turks, and foreigners lost their lives because of terrorist activities. Data on 22 major terrorist attacks in Turkey in 2016 are given below in Table 1. It provides some basic information on the location, numbers of people killed and wounded, and who claimed or were blamed for the attacks. Data presented by Table 1 contains government reports on numbers of casualties. These figures may be slightly different due to constant updating. Numbers have been compared with several sources online, thus they must be considered as the most accurate information.
|JULY 15||Failed Coup||290||1400||Gulen|
As can be seen from the above table, fatalities of the failed coup on July 15 were the highest for a single day. But, Erdogan’s counter-coup measures are significant. Over 137,000 Turks have lost their jobs or been detained. In order to retaliate and punish them, he is attempting to bring back the death penalty. If so, many more will be executed. Not including the failed coup, 21 terrorist attacks in 2016 are the largest in the history of the country. In 2015, Turkey had only seven terrorist incidents. With Ankara’s blessing, 2015’s attacks were mainly carried out by DAESH against the Kurds. In 2016, victims also included Turks and some foreigners.
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, seen as the New York of the country, was a favorite place for terrorists. It was targeted five times, with 117 individuals killed. Also, being the world’s largest Kurdish city, many of those killed in Istanbul were Kurds. Ankara was attacked three times, with 68 people killed. Both cities are very important tourist centers. Ankara, as the capital city and center of political power, has been attacked more frequently by the Kurds. The Kurdish city of Diyarbakir was hit five times, with only 27 casualties. It is interesting to note that those killed here were not Kurds but Turkish agents, security forces, and the police. Four other Kurdish cities are also listed with Gaziantep leading the list of all causalities in Turkey in 2016. In the so-called Wedding Party Massacre, 53 people lost their lives to a terrorist attack by DAESH. Twenty-two of the victims were children.
The last column of Table 1 shows who was behind/has been blamed for all of the killings in Turkey in 2016. For the case of Diyarbakir on September 12 no one was killed, and apparently nobody claimed responsibility or were blamed. Based on government reports that cannot be independently verified, the preacher Gulen was responsible for the attempted coup and also one of his followers, a policeman by the name of Mevlut Mert Altintas, assassinated the Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov on December 20. For the remaining cases, only two groups, the Kurds and the Islamic State, are easily identified. However, the majority of the attacks, 14 out of 20 cases, or 70%, are blamed on the PKK or its off-shoot TAK. On the other hand, ISIS carried out only six attacks.
While DAESH attacked soft targets such as innocent civilians at the airport, wedding party, or nightclubs, the Kurds attacked only Turkish security forces. Whereas Erdogan is one of the founding fathers of DAESH, the Kurdish Peshmerga partisans are freedom fighters. Regardless of where they are fighting, in Turkey, Iran, or Syria, they have been concerned about basic Kurdish human rights and freedom. Only in Turkey and among a few corrupt Western governments are the Kurdish Peshmergas called terrorists.
Recall that both George Washington and Nelson Mandela were named “terrorist.” It seems that Abdullah [Ocalan] and Mandela have a lot in common. Furthermore, what would be the choices for an ethnic group that has been the target of genocide but attacking security forces that have been killing them indiscriminately? The newest slogan conceived by the AKP against the Kurds is “slavery or die” that represents the murdering mind of Erdogan’s state terrorism. The majority of the Kurds prefer to die defending their self-determination and human rights. The Kurds will remove the term “slavery” from Turkish lexicon of state terrorism.
2017 Terrorist Outbreaks:
So far, 2017 has been another bloody year in Turkey. There have been two terrorist attacks during the first week of the year. Only 75 minutes through the New Year, at 1:15 am, a single Islamist terrorist, armed with a rapid-fire rifle, killed 39 and wounded 69 people in a nightclub on the Bosporus in Istanbul. At the same time, a single, sleepy tired Turkish policeman was no match for a trained Jihadist terrorist. The club goers, merrymakers, drinkers, and dancers were celebrating the New Year. This was just a sample of the bloody violence, and on the first day of the year in the terrorist state of Turkey. It was due to the violent nature of an Islamist terrorist regime in Ankara. In the morning, some Salafi-Islamists, mostly brainwashed members of Erdogan’s ruling party, celebrated the death of partygoers. A few people, like Barbaros Sansal, who criticized the Islamist regime in Ankara, ended up being badly beaten and sent to jail.
According to Tim Arango (January 1, 2017) of The New York Times, the upscale nightclub, Reina, on the Bosporus was “a symbol of a cosmopolitan Istanbul that is increasingly under threat: a dazzling nightclub where people from around the world could party together, free from the mayhem and violence gripping the region.” Most of the customers, 27 out of 39 or 70% of those who were massacred were foreigners coming from 14 countries. The majority of the foreigners murdered, 21 of them, came from Arab nations. Seven of these were from Saudi Arabia. The rest were from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait, and Syria.
Of course, they were rich and knew where to go in the Middle East to have some fun, relax and celebrate the arrival of the New Year. However, they ignored the fact that Turkey under Semi-Sultan erratic Erdogan has become a dangerous place to visit and have fun. The Turkish fascist Islamist regime failed to protect its own citizens and foreign guests. Indeed, why should an Islamist regime in Ankara care about protecting partygoers, drinkers, champagne and confetti on its soil? According to the Salafi dogma, the Sharia law, Erdogan’s regime has to punish the half-naked women dancing and drinking in a nightclub after midnight.
A day before this massacre, Patrick Cockburn (December 31, 2016) wrote that besides Syria and Iraq, “The biggest loser of all in 2016 has been Turkey. It helped stoke/fuel the war in Syria only to find that the main beneficiaries were the Syrian Kurds, whose political and military leadership was drawn from the PKK that has been fighting a guerrilla war in Turkey since 1984.” To Erdogan, the Turkish tyrant, who supported all of the terrorist groups in Syria, removing Assad from power is not an issue any more. He is obsessed with destroying the formation of a de facto Kurdish state in northern Syria. He has targeted the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria.
Desperate Erdogan would even cooperate with Assad to demolish anything Kurdish. According to Cockburn, “Erdogan is creating a more authoritarian state as he tightens his grip on state institutions and media in the wake of the failed military coup of 15 July. He justifies his actions as reactions to crises, such as the Turkish Kurd insurgency, that are in large part his own creation. Isis, whose volunteers were once allowed to cross the Turkish-Syrian border with little trouble, are now creeping back to carry out suicide bombings in Turkey.”
A day later, Patrick Cockburn (January 4, 2017) tried to answer his own question as to “Why Turkey Can’t Stop ISIS?” He argued that “because ISIS is too big and well resourced to be eliminated. It is well rooted in Turkey and can use local militants or bring in killers from abroad, as may have happened at the Reina nightclub and was the case in the assault on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport earlier in the year.” Mr. Cockburn, however, did not ask, “Why Turkey Can’t Stop the Kurds?” The Kurdish movement is also well rooted. They are large in number. Over 20 million Kurds live in Turkey. They are too resolute, too unwavering, and too serious to fight against oppression and genocide. For the goal of self-determination, the Kurds have been fighting for nearly a century. More importantly, the struggle for total freedom will continue. However, Mr. Cockburn correctly added that Erdogan has generated “a situation in which terrorism flourishes.”
On January 5, 2017, a car bomb killed at least two people outside a courthouse in the Turkish city of Izmir. A police officer and a member of the courthouse staff died as a result of the suspected terror attack. At least 10 people were injured by the blast and ensuing gun battle. Apparently, the PKK was behind the attack. Suspected Kurdish militants clashed with police and detonated a car bomb in Izmir, in western Turkey on Thursday, after their vehicle was stopped at a checkpoint, killing a police officer and a court employee, officials said. Within a short time period, 18 Kurds were arrested and accused for carrying out the attack. Perhaps, these were all of the Kurds they could find in the vicinity. That is a swift act of justice from a regime that is a much bigger terrorist.
Based on the official accretion, there are three groups of terrorists in action in Turkey: the Kurds, ISIS, and the Gulenists. Apparently, evidence to prove that Gulen himself or any of his followers are committing terrorist attacks is not readily available. Gulen who is now hiding behind the mountains in Pennsylvania still is an Islamist billionaire similar to Erdogan. He even believes in peace, interfaith, science, and technology. However, he is one of the biggest and bloodiest enemies of the Kurds. Furthermore, he and his followers had little or no role in the failed coup of last June. So, General Flynn, President Trump’s national security advisor, is wasting time to advocate extraditing Gulen to be sacrificed by Erdogan. As a lobbyist, the General has been paid by Ankara to say so. General Flynn must know that Erdogan is not an American friend and he does not deserve our help. This Islamist terrorist madman must be tried, locked up, and punished for his crimes against humanity.
The Kurds however, have never attacked any soft targets. The Kurds, PKK/TAK, kill men in full regalia, in the uniform of the state security forces that are usually ready to kill Kurds. The Kurds have also not been merciful on Kurdish collaborators, spies, and mercenaries that have caused death and destruction. The Kurd’s approach has not been different than any other minorities seeking freedom and respect for their basic human rights that have been violated by state sponsored terrorism. The Kurds have not and will not receive Turkish armed forces and convoys of conscripts about to be deployed in Kurdish cities with hospitality and gratitude. Their commanding officers will not walk on “the red carpet” or obtain “a bouquet of flowers” from the PKK/TAK. It is not accidental that the number and frequency of the recent attacks by the Kurds in reaction to Erdogan’s state terrorism increased by mid-2015. For two years, between 2013-2015, the Kurds did not attack any Turkish armed forces when the peace talks were in progress between Erdogan’s men and the PKK’s leader, Abdulla Mandela.
Dr. Jan Best de Vries (January 3, 2017) is one of a few scholars who understood the distinction between endless attacks by the Kurds and the so-called Islamic State. He indicated that “subdivisions of the Kurdish PKK exclusively aim their attacks on government buildings and police or military stations and convoys; on the other hand ISIS directs its attacks indiscriminately upon civilian buses, airports, nightclubs and so on. The PKK fights the Turkish State with its police and military executors as retaliation for the massive genocide of Kurdish civilians.” To Dr. de Vries, the attacks by ISIS “are also a logical reaction… against what it perceives as high treason by Mr. Erdogan.” As one of the midwives of the Jihadist group, he sponsored ISIS by training them, giving them weapons, food, and medical help. Now, the terror groups believe their Islamist friends in Ankara have abandoned them.
Therefore, in reality there are only two bloody murdering terrorist groups active in Turkey: (1) the Islamic State and (2) the regime in Ankara, another Islamic State. In fact, the two have one thing in common. Both are active Islamist Jihadist terrorists choosing soft targets. DAESH has been trained by the Turks to attack civilians busy with normal lives such as sports and games, weddings, and other peaceful gatherings. The Kurdish Peshmerga partisan freedom fighters of the PKK, on the other hand, have been defending their beloved homeland of Kurdistan. Turkish state terrorism is deployed because Erdogan is taking advantage of the crisis to retaliate against his enemies and force the public to support his Islamist programs.
By inviting and encouraging terrorist attacks and leaving the general population unprotected, Erdogan’s bloody regime decidedly has created a political crisis, chaos, instability, and economic uncertainty. Using this fear factor, nationalist and even secular Turks who have been uninterested in his agenda are submitting to an Islamist government. The general population is tired of war, terrorism, and instability. They are left only with one choice, to support Erdogan. With the continuation of this atmosphere of fear, it is highly likely that he will be elected as an executive president, Sultan Erdogan of his own Caliphate. He does not need General Flynn as a paid lobbyist in Washington.
The Pasha has learned not to have mercy on the Kurds. The feeling has been injected in his sick mind during his formative years. Now, as a Kemalist-Islamist terrorist, he is the most dangerous enemy of humanity. He has been riding on waves of manufactured chaos, fear, and instability. Sadly, this tactic will continue until he becomes a full Sultan Erdogan, ruler of a backward Islamic caliphate. The number of attacks and casualties may drop but it will not fully stop until then. He is a vicious person and violence is his approach. Erdogan did not stamp upon this path accidentally. This has become his deliberate and systematic way of intimidating those criticizing him and he pushes the public to support him.
Erdogan has saved his aggression for the unarmed and frail Kurds, including children. He is mistaken if he is thinking he is able to defeat the Kurds. Although he has benefited from the crisis he has created, still he is mistaken. The Turkish tyrant, the Islamist terrorist Erdogan is wasting everybody’s time, money, and blood. For the Kurds, the age of genocide is over. The Kurds are not defenseless anymore. They will not allow anybody to kill their loved ones so easily. They will not bow to anybody. They are able to defend themselves.
The so-called Islamic State will be defeated sooner or later. As for the Kurds, Erdogan is simply unable to kill them all. Nor can he conquer them easily. The Kurds were uprooted by the Turkish armed forces from the rural area of Anatolia. They are pushed to congregate in major cities, living in poverty in their little Gecekondu (2) that were built overnight. The best way out of this dilemma is what the Kurds want, not what Erdogan desires. They want a peaceful solution to their case. They demand total freedom from slavery.
1. This article discussed terrorist attacks in Turkey until mid-January, 2017.
2. A Gecekondu or built overnight is a Kurdish invention to take care of housing problem in the cities in Turkey. See: Koohzad, M. “The Gecekondu: A Creative Kurdish Concept for Self-Help Housing in Turkey.” Kurdistan Tribune, June 22, 2013.
- Arango, Tim. “Nightclub Massacre in Istanbul Exposes Turkey’s Deepening Fault Lines.”nytimes.com, January 1, 2017.
- Cockburn, Patrick. “ISIS Will Lose the Battle of Mosul, But Not Much Will Remain.” independent.co, December 31, 2016.
- Cockburn, Patrick. “Why Turkey Can’t Stop ISIS.” independent.co, January 2, 2017.
- de Vries, Jan Best. “The Civil War in Turkey.” kurdistantribune.com, January 3, 2017.
- Fisk, Robert. “Why We Don’t Dwell on Turkish Deaths in the West.” independent.co, Monday 2 January 2017.
- Koohzad, M. “HDP: Breaking the World’s Highest Political Barrier, The Victory of Moving From Bullets to Ballots by the Kurds in Turkey.” Kurdistan Tribune, June 15, 2015.
- Lendman, Stephen. “West Largely Silent About Erdogan’s War on Kurds.” Global Research, January 05, 2016.
- Petras, James. “Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Portrait of a Backstabbing Neoliberal Pasha.” Global Research, December 16, 2015.
- Phillips, David L. “Losing Turkey.” The Huffington Post, January 6, 2016.
- Tartakovsky, Joshua. “How to Crush Erdogan’s Expansionism.” counterpunch.org, December 30, 2015.
Dr. M. Koohzad is a professor emeritus of Middle Eastern Studies in the US