Suspect Identified in Turkey Attack; ISIS Possibly Behind Bombing

Is Turkey the latest target for ISIS? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

Is Turkey the latest target for ISIS? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

Turkey announced on Tuesday they had identified a suspect in the deadly bombing in their country, but they were not yet ready to announce that ISIS (ISIL) was behind the attack that killed more than 30 people on Monday. The Daily Hurriyet also reported that one consideration in the investigation is that it was a suicide bomber who had infiltrated the humanitarian group targeted in the blast.

“As I underlined yesterday, the probability of the [the attack’s] link with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] and the suicide bomber has intensified,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was quoted by the report as saying. Davutoğlu, who became premier as Recep Tayyip Erdogan became president, cautioned against reaching conclusions until the investigation concluded. The incident has reporters asking if ISIS is now turning its violent reach towards Turkey as it seeks to build an empire.

Reporters sought an answer to that point in Tuesday’s State Department briefing, but spokesperson John Kirby wouldn’t speculate on what ISIS is thinking.

“I’m not an expert on ISIL strategy or what they’re trying to achieve in any particular attack other than fear, intimidation, and brutality,” said Kirby in comments released by the State Department. “Again, I’m not going to speak for what their strategy is or, if they’re responsible for this latest one, what that portends for the way they’re thinking.”

Kirby did concede that ISIS has proven to be a group that “continues to modify” and evolve as the coalition of dozens of nations battles it.

“They’re agile, they’re nimble, they’re still well-funded. They’re still attractive to a whole population of young, disaffected men for whatever reasons,” said Kirby. “And we’re not blind to the kinds of activities that they continue to want to pursue.

He noted that the good guys were adapting their strategy “as needed,” while still sticking to the “core” of their plan to take truly down ISIS. The US-led coalition is working on military efforts to battle ISIS, as well as politics and economics. But ISIS’ plans? Kirby wouldn’t guess.

“As for what they’re thinking on any given day, I’d have to point you to them and their propaganda to try to help you out with that,” said Kirby. “What we’re focused on is taking them off the battlefield, trying to limit their ability to sustain themselves financially or through human resources, and eventually helping defeat their narrative through political gains on the ground in Iraq and eventually, hopefully, in Syria.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, July 21, 2015)

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