As the EU deal on refugees begins to unravel (see below) the Erdogan regime is being attacked from without (regarding its human rights record and EU membership aspirations) and from opponents within (the Government has, not unexpectedly, accused Kurdish separatists of being behind Sunday’s bomb in Ankara). There is evidence, however, from two documented sources, that the Turkish authorities knew well in advance that a bombing was planned in Ankara, but did not do anything about it or warn anyone – either through incompetence, or for other reasons yet to be disclosed. The question now is, has the conflict in Turkey reached tipping point, or can another ceasefire between the Government and its opponents be arranged? Going by President Erdogan’s actions over the last six months (destruction of Kurd cities/towns, resulting in the deaths of many Kurds) and his determination to wreak revenge on those he believes are responsible for the bombing, any immediate prospect of peace appears unlikely.
According to journalist Abdullah Bozkurt (Today’s Zaman, before its takeover) Turkey’s military intelligence were informed that a bomb placed in a backpack would be dropped in a designated area ‘by a kid who appears to be Syrian’. However, a document (see above) signed by Major General Mehmet Göktan, head of intelligence department, then identifies the PKK as the bombers. Note that this document is dated 10 days before the bombing.
The US embassy in Ankara passed on a similar warning two days before the bombing (based either on their own intelligence or intelligence passed to them by the Turkish authorities).
All 37 people killed and more than 100 injured were civilians.
And so the civil war between the Erdogan Government and the Kurds continues. Many believe that the Government’s big mistake was to provoke the collapse of the PKK-Government ceasefire last July – this was largely because the Government feared that Kurdish gains against ISIS in northern Syrian would lead to a united and autonomous Kurdistan.
Meanwhile, Cyprus has reiterated it will block Turkey’s bid to join the European Union unless Turkey recognises Cyprus as Greek. Downing Street also stated it has reservations about Turkey’s EU bid, as well as the offer by the EU – which the UK can block – to allow Turkish citizens visa-free roaming across Europe.
These events threaten to destabilise the EU-Turkey deal that would see the trading of refugees – a plan attacked by legal experts, who point out that under European law every refugee arriving in Europe has the legal right to argue their asylum case in the courts.
And, so, it was not surprising that today, in desperation, hundreds of refugees managed to cross the Greek-Macedonian border and are now hoping to head north.
In less than two weeks time, hundreds of protesters are intending to converge on Idomeni on that border, to provide support and solidarity to the refugees.
(Below is a video purporting to show Turkish ‘agents’ forcing a boat full of refugees towards Greece.)