At least 54 people died and a further 69 were injured last Saturday when a suicide bomber attacked a Kurdish wedding in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the border with Syria. Isis is widely reported to be responsible.
The bride and groom and many of those attending were members or supporters of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
The HDP blamed Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the killings, saying he had allowed Gaziantep to become “a nest for Islamic State”. It said he had also ignored previous evidence that Isis had plans to attack a Kurdish wedding.
It added, “It is significant that this attack happened on the very night the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) announced it would negotiate and seek a resolution with the Turkish government.
“When in October 2015 the KCK announced it would like to restart peace talks, two suicide bombers attacked the Ankara train station.
"Following the Ankara bombing, images of bloody carnage spread around the country, discussion of peace and resolution was prevented, and people were pushed away from hopes of a more stable country.”
Erdogan denounced the attacks. But he quickly added that there is “absolutely no difference” between Isis, the followers of Fethullah Gulen who are blamed for the recent coup attempt—and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Erdogan’s regime has also stepped up repression of Kurdish newspapers.
Last week a court in Istanbul ordered the closure of the pro-Kurdish Ozgur Gundem newspaper for spreading alleged propaganda on behalf of the PKK.
The move comes as Can Dundar, editor in chief of another opposition newspaper, Cumhuriyet, resigned from his position. He said he would live abroad after having been condemned to five years in prison for allegedly divulging state secrets.
Turkey has closed more than
130 media outlets and jailed over 50 journalists since a state of emergency was declared in the wake of last month’s failed military coup.
Threat of wider war in Syria
A fearsome ratcheting up of tension between the US and Russia’s allies in Syria took place last week.
The Syrian air force of dictator Bashar al-Assad bombed Kurdish YPG militia units in Hasakah province in the north of the country.
US special forces troops were embedded with the YPG and came close to being directly attacked.
A few days later two US F-22 military jets on patrol over Hasakah flew close to two Syrian fighter jets and “encouraged” them to leave.
Last weekend the commander of US forces in Iraq and Syria, Lt. General Stephen Townsend, said, “We will defend ourselves if we feel threatened.” This could lead to clashes with Russian forces.
Another senior defence official said, “If the Syrians try this again, they are at great risk of losing an aircraft.”
The multi-imperialist intervention in Syria is murderous for Syria’s people—and threatens horrific escalation.