Terrorism in Turkey shockingly reached a new low over the weekend, as a terror attack believed to have been perpetrated by ISIS at a wedding ceremony is also thought to have been carried out by a suicide bomber just 12-14 years old. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News as confirming the suspect’s youthful age, while saying there are “strong indications” it was done by ISIS.
At least 51 people were killed in the attack, which took place in the Turkish town of Gaziantep, not far from the Syrian border. The BBC reported that the target was a Kurdish wedding, noting it was possibly an act of revenge for the military achievements by Kurds allied with the United States battling ISIS in Syria. A minority group in Turkey, Kurds have long had a complicated relationship with the state. Erdoğan was quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News as saying that the goal of such attacks is to divide Turkey along sectarian lines, a method that has proved tragically successful in Iraq and Syria. Israel was among the nations that sent condolences and condemnations of the barbarous attack.
Israel, in a statement released by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “sends its best wishes for a quick recovery to the wounded. To defeat terror, the international community needs to join forces and fight it with strength and determination.”
As a neighbor to Syria, the importance of Turkey’s position in that war with terrorism was not lost on former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Regarding the wedding bombing, Bildt posted on his Twitter account that “no European country is as affected by terrorism as Turkey. It needs our support.”
The attack underscores the extent to which ISIS is apparently willing to go to strike at its enemies and comes just days before US Vice President Joe Biden will visit Turkey. US National Security Council spokesman Ned Price, in a statement published on the White House website, highlighted the upcoming Biden visit as a chance to “reaffirm our commitment to work together with Turkey, our valued NATO Ally and partner, to confront the scourge of terrorism.”
“The perpetrators of this barbaric act cynically and cowardly targeted a wedding, killing dozens and leaving scores wounded,” said Price. “…We stand with the people of Turkey as they defend their democracy in the face of all forms of terrorism.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, August 21, 2016)