Turkish Police Arrest 46 Over Istanbul Bombing

Turkish police have reportedly arrested 46 people in response to a bombing in Istanbul, which Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Monday described as a terrorist attack likely carried out by Kurdish militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People's Defense Units (YPG).

Turkish Police Arrest 46 Over Istanbul Bombing
Image credit: Washington Post

Facts

  • Turkish police have reportedly arrested 46 people in response to a bombing in Istanbul, which Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Monday described as a terrorist attack likely carried out by Kurdish militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People's Defense Units (YPG). Turkish officials didn't rule out the Islamic State group.
  • According to Soylu, the suspected bomber is among those arrested following Sunday's blast in the popular Taksim Square area, which killed at least six people and injured 81 others. Vice Pres. Fuat Oktay stated that a female suspect was believed to have carried out the bombing.
  • Through a statement on its website, the PKK rejected involvement and stated it would not attack members of the civilian population. The Kurdish-organized Syrian Democratic Forces also denied responsibility.
  • Soylu went on to claim that militant Kurds from the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani on the Turkish border were behind the attack and responded to a condolence message from the White House by comparing the US to a "killer" showing up "first at the crime scene."
  • Turkey has launched three military operations against the US-backed YPG in northern Syria, which Ankara considers an offshoot of the PKK. The PKK, which is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU, and the US, has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, with more than 40K people killed in the conflict.
  • Meanwhile, Turkish Pres. Erdoğan vowed that those responsible for the alleged terror attack "will be punished as they deserve." In December 2016, twin bombings claimed by a PKK branch killed 38 people and injured 155 outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul.

Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC News, Reuters, DW, Alarabiya, and Independent.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Daily Sabah. Everything points to the latest attack being an act of terrorism by the separatist PKK and its Syrian Kurdish offshoot, the YPG. And while Washington is now shedding tears, it's the US that's supporting the supposed "freedom fighters" of the PKK/YPG in Syria with money and weapons, despite officially classifying the PKK as a terrorist organization. Through its policy of hypocrisy and double standards, the US shares responsibility for the innocent victims of the recent attack.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Jerusalem Post. Although no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, Ankara is already spreading claims that the attack was masterminded by the Syrian PKK/YPG without providing any evidence. At the same time, it's accusing the US of being partly responsible through its alleged support of "terrorists" in Syria. The immediate spread of such theories presumably serves the purpose of justifying a renewed military campaign against US-backed forces in Syria.