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12/12/16

Turkey: Istanbul Bombings: Kurds and Erdogan Playing Political Football--James M. Dorsey

Twin bombs in central Istanbul may not have had the newly refurbished Vodafone Arena stadium of Besiktas JK, one of Turkey’s top football teams, as its main target.

But the event underscores the propaganda value of attacking a soccer match for both jihadist and non-jihadist groups. This also raises important questions about counter-terrorism strategy.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a splinter of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), claimed responsibility for Saturday’s blasts that targeted police on duty to maintain security at a match between top Turkish clubs Besiktas and Bursapor.

According to reports, thirty of the 38 people killed in the attacks were riot police.

The Falcons’ operation appeared designed to maximize police casualties — and minimize civilian casualties. In that regard, they were very different from other acts of terrorism by jihadist groups.

The Islamic State’s attack on the Stade de France in Paris in November last year — and its reportedly subsequent foiled attempts to bomb international matches in Belgium and Germany – aimed at civilian casualties.

American-Turkish soccer scholar and writer John Konuk Blasing reporting from Istanbul during the blasts noted that the attacks occurred two hours after the match — attended by more than 40,000 people — had ended.

Mr. Blasing argued that the timing of the two bombs called into question President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s effort to capitalize on the attacks by asserting that they had been “aimed to maximize casualties,” irrespective of their identity.

Blasing reasoned that “the target of the stadium was chosen in order to send a message, a twisted and violent message that says, ‘We can do worse damage if we wanted to. Right now, we are attacking the state, not citizens. But if we want to target citizens, we can do that too.'”

Consequently this proves tha Erdogan’s analysis is not correctt 

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