Feature

Turkey: A mysterious attack on the U.S. Embassy

Who was really behind last week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Turkey?

Who was really behind last week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Turkey? asked Murat Yetkin in Hurriyet (Turkey). We know who the suicide bomber was: Ecevit Sanli, who blew himself up at the visitors’ gate, killing a Turkish security guard and wounding a Turkish reporter who was waiting to interview U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone. Sanli was a member of the leftist militant group Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C); he had been released from prison after suffering brain damage from a hunger strike. The DHKP-C claimed responsibility for the attack, citing America’s “imperialist ventures.” But it seems bizarre and implausible that the radical leftists would strike against the U.S. now, decades after their Cold War heyday. We know the group had links to Syria in the past. Could Syria be involved? 

The Syrian conflict is surely the cause of the attack, said the Daily Times (Pakistan). The DHKP-C posted a message to President Obama on its website saying, “It is the Syrian people who will decide how, and by whom, Syria will be governed,” and adding “Get your bases, your missiles, and your Patriots the hell out of our country.” That’s a reference to the deployment in December of U.S. Patriot missiles to Turkey, where they are manned by U.S. troops. The U.S. sent the missiles to aid its NATO ally after a number of skirmishes on the Turkish-Syrian border. But both Turkey and the U.S. would do better to stay out of the conflict. “The U.S.-led West should restrain its ambitions to mold Syria along the lines of Libya and desist from such interventions in a highly volatile area with the potential to threaten regional and world peace.”

The attack is blowback from Syria, all right—but not by leftist radicals, said Alireza Zakhah in Khorasan News (Iran). “Ottoman Marxists don’t commit suicide bombings.” No, this attack was obviously the work of al Qaida. For the past two years, Turkey has encouraged al Qaida militancy in Syria, because it is trying by any and all means to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government. As a result, there is now a “pronounced presence of Turkish nationals” in the jihadist group. But al Qaida has turned on Turkey, and is using the Marxists as a front to attack on its territory. 

Somebody certainly used the DHKP-C, said Beril Dedeoglu in Today’s Zaman (Turkey). The leftist group is “a complicated player” that often performs subcontract work for other militant organizations. It has even been suggested that it “is an instrument used by the deep state,” the shadowy network of Turkish military and political elites that many believe really control events in Turkey. This latest attack may confirm that suspicion. Ask yourself: Who benefits from a low-casualty attack on the U.S. Embassy here, which effectively targets both Turkey and the U.S.? Such an attack can only be expected “to bring these two countries closer, to confirm their alliance, and to expand their common strategic operations” in Syria. No terrorist group really wants that. But Turkey’s deep state does.

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