News & Politics

Major Terrorist Blast in Ankara: at Least 28 Dead, 61 More Wounded

(IHA via AP) TURKEY OUT

Turkish military vehicles were hit by a major blast Wednesday evening at an intersection in the Turkish capital of Ankara. The terrorist attack came at around 6:30 p.m. local time, which is 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. In addition to three military vehicles, one private vehicle was also struck.

Ankara governor Mehmet Kiliclar says that the vehicles were attacked when they stopped at a traffic light. Currently, the body count stands at 28 people dead and 61 injured. Here’s a picture of the explosion of a military bus.

Although the radical Islamic terrorist organization ISIS carried out a massive terror attack in Ankara last year, it’s likely that the Kurdish terrorist organization PKK is behind this one. Turkish officials believe so, Al Jazeera reports, and the target of the attack also makes that the most likely explanation: ISIS usually targets civilians whereas the PKK tends to hit Turkish soldiers and policemen.

Additionally, the PKK and the Turkish army have been having a go at each other for months now, with Ankara actively bombing the PKK-aligned YPG Kurdish fighters in Syria. If this turns out to be the case, Turkey will ramp up its attacks on the PKK — inside Turkey and in Syria — even more. President Erdoğan said as much just now:

Ankara is not going to take this lying down, which will undoubtedly cause more problems in the region, including increasing tensions with Russia (Putin seems to consider the YPG his ally nowadays). It also will deteriorate the already testy relationship between Turks and Kurds even more. It’s time to wonder if this crisis will eventually result in a civil war in the southeastern part of Turkey, where a large part of the population is Kurdish, and where the government has cracked down hard on Kurdish terrorism — as well as normal dissent — up to and including curfews for entire cities.

Given the bellicose disposition of the current Turkish government, don’t be surprised if current policy will soon appear to be moderate or even soft. Today’s attack on Turkey’s capital will give Erdoğan every reason (or excuse) he needs to step it up to the next level. And knowing him, that’s something that won’t take much more encouragement.