Turkey has been gripped by concerns following the mass shooting at a nightclub in Istanbul which claimed dozens of lives on Saturday night, becoming the first terror attack of 2017. Istanbul remains on alert as the manhunt for the gunman continues. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the massacre was a plot to plunge the country into chaos. Press TV has asked two experts to share their views about why Turkey has been the target of an increasing number of terror acts lately.
Marwa Osman, a political commentator from Beirut, blamed President Erdogan’s policy of supporting mercenaries and letting them into Syria for the recent spike in terror attacks. The fresh wave of terrorism in Turkey is the backlash from Erdogan’s policies over the past six years against the Syrian state, Osman told Press TV’s “The Debate” program on Sunday night. People are indeed paying the price for the policies of their government, meaning the same militants who have been allowed to infiltrate Syria from Turkey are now back in Turkish cities, wreaking havoc, she explained.
Osman said that Daesh has infiltrated Turkish territory on such a massive scale that the government can no longer control. “Erdogan now is trying to stop the chaos as much as possible” but “it is too late for him,” the analyst mentioned. Improving the security situation is tied to the Turkish government halting its strategy on the terror groups, Osman noted, adding that change will not happen as long as Ankara supports the extremist outfits.
As an example, she referred to Nusra Front leaders who are still residing in the southeastern city of Gaziantep. Osman continued, “President Erdogan did not create Daesh, but he did open up his borders for all kinds of mercenaries coming from all parts of the world to infiltrate the Syrian territory through the Turkish borderline.”
She said the militants fighting against the government in Syria today “are not Syrians, they are not Sunnis and they are definitely not jihadis. [Rather] they are Daesh Wahhabi infiltrators and mercenaries coming from all over the world.” She also denounced the United States and certain Persian Gulf states for arming and funding terror groups, adding the United States and the Israeli regime have been selling bombs to terrorists and rogue governments in the Middle East.
The analyst praised Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah of Lebanon for “cleaning out the mess made by the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar” as well as the main culprit behind the entire plan, namely Israel. Meanwhile, Daniel Pipes, the president of the Middle East Forum from Philadelphia, said Turkey is currently facing threats from both Kurds and extremist militant groups. He also blamed President Erdogan for the security problems, saying Ankara is paying the price for supporting “Syrian Sunni jihadis” and for violating truce with the Kurds.
Turkey is now prone to this kind of violence, he said, adding it is hard to see how the government can stop it because the Kurds and militants are now out of control. He then referred to the “contradictions” in Turkey’s Syria policy, and noted that the Turkish government is undecided between supporting and fighting terrorism. “On the one hand wishing to support Daesh and the Sunni jihadis; on the other hand, wishing to be on good terms with the Russian government.”
According to Pipes, “It is clear that the Turkish government’s policy vis-à-vis Syria changed after reconciliation with Moscow and the Turks are now halfway towards Moscow, which is contradictory.” In other remarks, he ruled out “conspiracy theories” in the Mideast, saying the Middle Eastern states make their own decisions and the region has in fact created its own problems.