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January Today in Terrorism

January 13, 2016: Siege in southeast Turkey

On this day in 2016 five people were killed and 39 wounded in a car bomb attack on a police station and adjacent housing for officers in south-eastern Turkey

CINAR, TURKEY – It is not inconsistent to condemn terrorism and at the same time criticise government policies which feed it.

In all the years I was a Middle East analyst there was never any shortage of strange things and inconsistencies. The Israel-Palestine conflict aside (a pox on both their houses!), there is much that goes on that makes one shake one’s head in frustration and incredulity.

Take the Turkish-Kurdish dislike. The Kurds have often been described as the single largest ethnic group (between 25 and 35 million) without a homeland to call their own. The Turkish state has long disavowed the very existence of a separate Kurdish entity, calling these people ‘mountain Turks‘ and outlawing the Kurdish language, as well as forbidding them to wear distinctive Kurdish dress in or near the important administrative cities.

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Kurd or ‘mountain Turk’? Turn around dammit so we can tell! (Photo: Kurdishstruggle / Flickr (CC BY))

Faced with Turkish unwillingness to even talk, some Kurds have taken up arms to get what they want. There are several terrorist groups, perhaps the most well-known of which is the PKK (the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan or Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is a listed terrorist entity in Canada).

These groups have been responsible for some horrendous acts of terrorism.

On this day in 2016

Five people were killed and 39 wounded in a car bomb attack on a police station and adjacent housing for officers in south-eastern Turkey. 14 people were injured in the initial bomb blast while 25 were wounded by the collapse of the building, including five who had been rescued from the rubble by emergency teams.

Every threat directed at Turkey will be punished in kind.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

The PKK was suspected in the attack: it was followed up by rocket fire and long-range gunfire. Both police and civilians were wounded but initial reports said all those killed were civilians.

Acts of this nature must be condemned as should all acts of terrorism. Still, Turkey has a lot to learn about how to treat its own Kurdish population and should eject this belief that the Kurds are ‘mountain Turks’.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Programme Director for the Security, Economics and Technology (SET) hub at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of five books on terrorism.

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