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MAY 2021

Ankara Terror Acts: Erdogan in a Trap

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Ankara Terror Acts: Erdogan in a Trap

Original by Middle East Institute president Yevgeniy Satanovskiy published by lifenews; translated from Russian by J.Hawk

The double terrorist attack in Ankara which killed nearly 100 and wounded over 200 has distracted Turkish media from Russia’s successes in Syria. From the PR perspective, a terror act is a win-win-proposition. The published list of organizations which in the view of Turkey’s leadership might have carried out the explosion at the Ankara train station includes all the usual suspects: kill them all, we’ll figure out who later. But nobody asked why any of these groups needed something like that, when the only beneficiary on the even of the approaching parliamentary elections was the country’s president. It gave him a blank check to do whatever he wants against anyone he considers a supporters of the radicals. The list of suspects naturally does not include Turkey’s MIT secret service, even though the lack of motive in this terror strike really resembles the recent terror act in Surush which launched Erdogan’s latest military campaign against the Kurds.

The writer is not a conspiracy theory buff. But he’s not aware of terrorist acts, especially high-profile ones, for which nobody has taken responsibility except in cases they were organized as political provocations. The likelihood that the election results will give Erdogan what he needs to maintain the Party of Development and Justice hold on power is very low: he has too many enemies, and he has made too many mistakes including the participation in the Syrian civil war together with Saudi Arabia and Katar on the side of the opponents of Assad. Moreover, the Arab monarchies assigned Turkey the role of a near-frontline state with all the associated minuses, including the refugee problem.

Erdogan has nowhere to retreat to. The border with Syria and Syrian refugees in Turkey are permanent factors. Moreover, terrorists are streaming through Syria. The oil trade which represents the Islamic State’s main source of revenue is also taking place with Turkey as an intermediary. If the border is controlled by Assad’s army and its allies, then the city of Raqqah is lost by the Islamists and the Assad overthrow project will fail and, what’s worse, his own rule may suffer a lethal blow.

Ankara, Doha, and Riyadh spent the whole spring working out the outlines of their “spheres of responsibility” of groups each capital controls in preparation for a general offensive against Damascus. The Kurds launched an offensive in late summer toward Raqqah, forcing Erdogan to start a war against the PKK. He planned to rally a wave of Turkish nationalism and lower the vote share Demirtash’s Peoples’ Democracy Party at the next parliamentary elections, but Kurdish resistance damaged his chances of victory, and he can’t draw away the votes from Demirtash’s party.

What more, neither the EU nor the US supported his idea of establishing a “no fly zone” in Syria, and Merkel moreover said she “does not see Turkey in the EU.” As to Russia, Turkey’s president can only blackmail it by ending the purchases of Russian gas and refusing to build nuclear power plants. The problem is that he can’t afford destroying Turkey’s economy which would simply not survive him carrying out his threats. So the only remaining explanation of the Ankara terrorist attack is that it’s a pre-election secret service provocation. And nobody is guaranteeing it’s the last one. The elections will take place on November 1…

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