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What is behind Turkey’s Suruc attack?

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By Bora Bayraktar
What is behind Turkey’s Suruc attack?

<p>What is behind Turkey’s Suruc attack?</p> <p>Monday’s bombing attack in the border town of Suruc in which 32 mainly young activists were killed has shaken Turkey deeply. The attack is believed to have been led by a suicide bomber affiliated with <span class="caps">ISIS</span>. But why are radical Islamists attacking Turkey?</p> <p><strong>Cutting support of Kurds</strong></p> <p>The international coalition against <span class="caps">ISIS</span> led by the United States still faces difficulties in finding enough support to build a land force against the terrorist group. The Iraqi National Army lost a certain amount of credibility last year after leaving Mosul to <span class="caps">ISIS</span> and many policy-makers in Washington see the <span class="caps">INA</span> as incapable of defeating <span class="caps">ISIS</span>. The Kurdish President of the <span class="caps">KRG</span> is reluctant to use Peshmerger fighters from Kurdish dominated areas for future considerations and not to risk security of his territory. The <span class="caps">YPG</span> and <span class="caps">PYD</span>, affiliated with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (<span class="caps">PKK</span>), have been the only force active against <span class="caps">ISIS</span>. These groups receive manpower and logistics from Turkey. By targeting youngsters from Turkey, who were trying to rebuild Kobani as a Kurdish city after last year’s destruction, <span class="caps">ISIS</span> wanted to cut the flow of aid from Turkey.</p> <p><strong>Destabilizing Peace Process in Turkey</strong></p> <p>The Turkish government has been in talks with imprisoned <span class="caps">PKK</span> leader Abdullah Ocalan for three years. The aim of the talks is to find a peaceful solution to Turkey’s Kurdish issue and stop the war with the <span class="caps">PKK</span>. The political wing of <span class="caps">PKK</span>, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (<span class="caps">HDP</span>) got 13 per cent of the vote in June 7 elections and won 82 seats in the national parliament. <span class="caps">ISIS</span> has revealed its hopes of having a right wing coalition government in Turkey, which would stop the peace talks and result in the Turkish army fighting the <span class="caps">PKK</span> again. Having the <span class="caps">PKK</span> fighting on two fronts against <span class="caps">ISIS</span> and the Turkish Army would relieve <span class="caps">ISIS</span> in their fight against Kurds in Syria.</p> <p><strong>Warning Turkey</strong></p> <p>Despite accusations in Western media Turkey openly defines <span class="caps">ISIS</span> as terrorists and government officials say they will never tolerate terrorists operating in Turkey. Turkey recently arrested tens of <span class="caps">ISIS</span> affiliates and increased its border controls. <span class="caps">ISIS</span> may have targeted Turkey as a reaction to the Turkish ‘surge’ against it.</p> <p><strong>Ideological Reasons</strong></p> <p><span class="caps">ISIS</span> believes that democracy is disbelief and defines Turkish rulers and most of its citizens as “murtad” (non-Muslims). Turkey presents a different understanding of Islam, in peace with a democratic system. For this reason <span class="caps">ISIS</span> sees Turkey and other countries like Tunisia as enemies of their belief and this makes Turkey a natural target for the organization.</p>