It’s the deft way that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to the deadly bombing in Istanbul this week that raises suspicions. Suspicions that there is much more to the incident than simply an Islamist terror attack carried out against innocent civilians. To put it bluntly: Erdogan «needed» this atrocity in order to erase mounting evidence of his own regime’s collusion in terrorism with the very same Islamist terror network alleged to have carried out the Istanbul bombing.
From the blood and carnage, his regime has quickly sought to position itself internationally as another victim of barbaric terrorism, and as a fearless fighter against the Islamic State terror network. Turkey is a little too self-consciously wrapping itself in the emotional flag of France following the Paris terror attacks in November.
The American White House and the United Nations’ chief Ban Ki-Moon also weighed in with condemnations of the «despicable» killings in Istanbul and vowed solidarity with the Turkish state against the terrorism.
Both Erdogan and his prime minster Ahmet Davutoglu responded immediately in separate but similarly scripted speeches to claim that the atrocity was evidence that Turkey is at «the front line in the fight against terrorism».
«No-one should doubt our resolve to defeat the terrorists of Islamic State», Erdogan told reporters. His earnest, tough-sounding anti-terror declarations were echoed by Davutoglu.
However, as William Shakespeare would say: «Thou protest too much!» – meaning the contrived rhetoric suggests an ulterior aim.
Erdogan’s government reacted with suspiciously punctual accounting of the bombing, which occurred in the historic quarter of Istanbul, killing at least 10 people, including eight German tourists.
Within hours of the attack early Tuesday, Turkish authorities had named the suicide bomber as a 28-year-old Syrian national who was originally born in Saudi Arabia. The Turkish government said he was a member of the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
But even several hours later, as of Tuesday night, no group had yet claimed responsibility for the attack. That raises questions about who did carry out the bombing. Surely the IS would be only too glad to take the credit for an attack involving international headlines, as they usually do in such atrocities? Why did the group seem to not know anything about it in the immediate aftermath?
If this were a genuine terror attack that defied the Turkish state security services, then how come the Turkish authorities were so quickly able to identify the alleged suicide bomber? In a «normal» terror attack, the authorities would be caught off-guard and would be seen to be scrambling for several days to piece together who carried it out. Not in this case. Erdogan’s government had the low-down immediately on not only the alleged group behind the bombing (IS), but also the alleged individual. That’s quite amazing detective efficiency, if we accept the official version at face value.
In any case, such acceptance of the Erdogan government’s version would also be wildly naive. The Turkish military intelligence, MIT, has been shown through many previous instances to be intimately involved with Islamist terror groups waging war in Syria.
Can Dundar, the editor of Cumhuriyet, is facing life imprisonment because his newspaper exposed gun-running by the MIT to terror groups in Syria.
Turkish MP Eren Erdem earlier this year also made credible claims that the Erdogan government has covered up an investigation into the supply of chemical weapons to Islamic State militants by the MIT; chemical weapons that were mostly likely used in the mass killing of Syrian citizens in the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta in August 2013.
Russian military aerial surveillance has in recent months irrefutably exposed industrial-scale smuggling of oil by the IS terrorists into Turkey, with credible links in the racket going all the way to the Turkish state and Erdogan’s family shipping businesses in particular.
Previous bombings against Turkish citizens inside Turkey have also implicated the dirty work of the Erdogan regime. When over 100 Kurdish rights supporters were killed in a bomb blast at a peaceful rally in Ankara last October, Kurdish groups accused Turkish state agents of secretly carrying out the atrocity. Similar claims of state-sponsored terrorism against Kurdish political groups were made over the deadly bombings in Suruc and Diyarbakir also last year.
A deadly bombing in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli in May 2013, which killed over 40, was again blamed on Turkish state agents trying to frame the Syrian government, in an attempt to contrive a casus belli for Turkish military invasion of Syria. Turkish premier Ahmet Davutoglu has been caught in leaked audio tapes voicing such false flag schemes in private meetings with party cadres.
In recent weeks, the Turkish authorities have been making high-flown claims of foiling terror plots within the country, alleging that they had pre-empted suicide bombers belonging to IS. It is impossible to verify these official claims because Erdogan’s regime has severely clamped down on independent media reporting.
But one reasonable way of assessing such official claims is that the Turkish authorities were setting the scene for an eventual terror attack, which appears to have happened this week with the bombing in Istanbul.
And with swift reaction Erdogan’s government has deftly stepped up to make pointed claims that it is a victim of IS terrorism, and thereby quickly receiving sympathy and support from the White House and the UN.
The timing is important for proper understanding. Erdogan, Davutoglu and the ruling Justice and Development Party have been exposed in recent months by Russia’s military intervention in Syria as being up to their necks in supporting terrorism in Syria. The Western media may have treated the revelations with a stultified indifference. Nevertheless, the revelations are a shocking indictment of the lawlessness of the Turkish state, a NATO member and an aspiring member of the European Union.
The Erdogan regime has become synonymous with state-sponsored terrorism, smuggling and gun-running in Syria, and in particular collusion with Islamist terror groups like IS. (Saudi Arabia has also been similarly illuminated as a rogue, gangster state.)
What better then, from the Erdogan’s point of view, than an IS atrocity in Istanbul this week killing foreign tourists in order for his regime to subsequently make claims of being an «enemy of IS» and a «defender against terrorism».
Nonetheless, this alternative, more realistic, scenario beckons: the Erdogan regime knew the bomber’s identity because it works with such terror operatives; and the Turkish authorities enabled the attack to go ahead for its own self-serving political reasons of blanching its badly tarnished international reputation, to be thus seen as a «victim of terrorism».