After the DEASH raid of a Catholic church in Istanbul, and a bizarre hostage taking incident in Gebze, Kocaeli, allegedly perpetrated by a lone wolf protesting the war in Gaza, Turkey is shaken by a third event, when alleged members of DHKP-C Maoist terrorist organization attacked the main courthouse in Istanbul. Two terrorists and an innocent bystander were killed, with five injured.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said the assailants were members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) — a fringe leftist group that has staged periodic attacks in Turkey since the 1980s. The group issued no initial claim of responsibility.
“While the terrorists who attempted to attack were neutralized, six people, including three police officers and three citizens, were injured,” Yerlikaya said in a social media statement.
Turkey has begun to emerge from a violent spell that started a decade ago when it was hit by repeated bombings and other attacks linked to jihadist fighters and Kurdish operatives.
Although those attacks have largely died down, both Istanbul and the capital Ankara remain on high alert.
Last month, one man was shot dead by two gunmen who opened fire inside a Catholic church in Istanbul. The attack was claimed by Islamic State group jihadists.
In October, two assailants injured two policemen in an attack on the government district in the capital Ankara that was claimed by Kurdish operatives. Turkey responded by stepping up air strikes against Kurdish targets in Syria and Iraq.
It is probably just a coincidence, but the proliferation of terror attacks coinciding with critical election campaigns is striking. PKK’s futile campaign to trigger a riot in a dozen Kurdish cities in 2015, which was put down with the help of military, causing countless casualties, is the primary factor propelling Erdogan to power after the first election of the year witnessed the defeat of his AKP.
Turkey is heading for another historic election in March, where the AKP-MHP alliance will fight hard to gain back the major cities it lost to a CHP led alliance in 2019 municipal elections.
Generally, waves of terror strikes evoke nationalist sentiment and fears about public security, compelling voters to rally around Erdogan. It is not clear whether these incidents are genuine coincidents, or are orchestrated by neighboring countries wishing to push Turkey into chaos, by the nemesis Kurdish secessionist PKK, or caused by inattention of security and intelligence sources, busy hunting down dissidents.
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