October 10, 2015: ISIS bombing in Ankara

ISIS is believed to have been behind the October 2015 Ankara train station bombing that killed close to 100 and wounded 250.

ISIS is believed to have been behind the October 2015 Ankara train station bombing that killed close to 100 and wounded 250.

ANKARA, TURKEY – The modern state of Turkey sure has seen a lot of change over the centuries. Once a nominally Christian place – think of the great cathedral of Hagia Sophia (more on that in a bit) and all those place names from the New Testament where the first ‘followers of Jesus’ went to spread the Gospel.

The land was then an important part of the Crusades when western Christendom tried to free the Holy Lands from Muslim domination. With the rise of the Ottomans in the 15th century it veered towards Islam – Constantinople (now Istanbul) fell in 1453 – where it remains to this day. The Ottomans are, of course, no more. The ‘sick man of Europe’ was on the losing side of WWI and replaced by a republic led by the great strongman Ataturk.

Today Turkey is led by an autocrat, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who seems to have it in for just about everyone, especially the so-called Gulenists, an Islamic movement whose members follow their eponymous leader in exile (in Pennsylvania of all places). Oh, and the Kurds, which successive Turkish regimes dismissed as ‘mountain Turks’, denying their language and culture. And he rededicated the Hagia Sophia, which has been a museum for decades. As a mosque.

The crimes of ISIS around the world are legend but they never seem to stoop to new lows.

Political parties that do not happen to be that of the current President (he leads the AKP) also have not fared well. One of these is the HDP – the People’s Democratic Party – which Erdogan accused in February 2020 of ‘non-stop criminal activity‘. Ankara’s Chief Prosecutor launched a terrorism investigation into the party’s congress in the capital, citing support for the PKK (the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, which in all honesty is indeed a terrorist group).

The HDP has had worse days however.

On this day in 2015, an HDP rally entitled “Labour, Peace and Democracy” held at the Ankara central station was rocked by two suicide bombers. 95 people were killed and another 250 were wounded. While there were fingers pointed in many directions, the most likely candidate was Islamic State (ISIS).

The first explosion came. Within seconds, the other oneā€¦ I realised there were body parts lying in front of us. Our friends were there at the spot. We were in shock. This was the worst scene I’ve ever seen.

Serdar Cil, witness

ISIS is known for its barbarity and there is no need for me to reiterate the heinous crimes it is behind. But attacking a peace rally?? How can those who claim to be Muslims (Muslim derives from the Arabic triliteral root s-l-m, one form of which – salaam – means ‘peace’) do such a thing? Because they are fake Muslims, that’s why.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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