Written and Media by Andrea Martin. [divide]
Considered the deadliest terror attack in Turkey’s history, thousands of protestors gathered to mourn the 128 people who died in the twin bombings, which took place in the country’s capital of Ankara. Hundreds more were injured, and seemingly the death toll continues to rise.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has called for three days of mourning while also citing there is evidence of two suicide bombers who carried out the attack.
The bombing occurred near a peace rally at the Ankara train station. The rally was planned in order to demand an end to the violence between the Kurdish separatist PKK militants and the Turkish government. The Kurds represent Turkey’s largest ethnic minority. Around 14,000 people attended the peace rally.
With neighboring Syria involved in a civil war, Turkey has taken the brunt force of regional conflict as over two million refugees have taken solace in the country. For years, Turkey had done its best to ignore the growing tensions surrounding it. However in July, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, approved military raids and allowed for US-led coalitions to use Incirlik Air Base in the south. Such actions led many to assume Turkey’s involvement in regional conflict, drawing some praise and criticism.
Erdogan, though, has been the subject of political hate and animosity from Turkish citizens, and Sunday’s protest made it quite clear Erdogan is not seen in a good light.
As the protestors marched towards the central square in Ankara, chants of “murder Erdogan” and “murder police,” broke out. Some have seen the president as the escalator of violence taking place in Turkey, but Prime Minister Davutoglu has listed ISIS or far-left groups as suspects in the deadly bombings. Experts have stated that it is unlikely far-left groups are behind the attack.
Much of the hate Erdogan has received seems to stem from his manipulation of the political system in Turkey, which allows for him to shift jobs between President and prime minister. Although Turkey is a constitutionally a parliamentary state, he moved into a new presidential palace in Ankara, a symbolic notion of his ever-growing authority. If his actions of manipulation seem rather familiar, one need not look further for a comparison than with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.