MESOP TOP OF THE AGENDA : Turkey Accuses Syrian Kurds of Ankara Bombing

Turkish fighter planes bombed Kurdish targets (Today’s Zaman) in northern Iraq Wednesday night, shortly after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu accused Syrian Kurds of carrying out a car bombing (Hurriyet) that killed twenty-eight people in Ankara Wednesday. Davutoglu said a Syrian national with links to the People’s Protection Units (PYD/ PKK)  orchestrated the attack. He said they had assistance from Kurdistan Workers’ Party militants in Turkey.  Fourteen suspects have been detained.

“Turkey feels under increasing pressure. The ceasefire with the PKK collapsed in July last year, prompting months of military operations, curfews, attacks and hundreds of dead and injured in the south-east of the country. Ankara also seems to be getting increasingly involved in the Syrian conflict. In the last week Turkish artilleries have been shelling YPG targets across the border,” writes Selin Girit for the BBC.

“If Turkey succeeds in convincing the US and other allies that the Syrian Kurds are enemies, it may feel emboldened to launch a more direct, military intervention on the ground – a move Erdogan has frequently threatened in the teeth of Washington’s opposition,” writes Simon Tisdall for the Guardian.

“[A]s the fight against the Islamic State flared up in Syria and Iraq, Ankara became threatened by the rise of Kurdish militant and separatist activity beyond its borders. Its resulting policies toward the Kurds in both countries damaged the AKP’s image among Turkey’s own Kurds. Though the ruling party tried to court both Kurdish and nationalist voters ahead of Turkey’s June 2015 election, it was unsuccessful. Now, as Erdogan focuses his attention on the nationalists in the lead-up to the constitutional referendum, the political, legal and security pressures on Turkey’s Kurds will mount,” writes Stratfor.