In a live press conference, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the suicide bombing carried out Sunday morning on a Kurdish wedding by a child who is alleged to have been a member of Islamic State, aged 12 to 14.
The attack took place in a town near the Syrian border called Gaziantep. The adolescent killed 51 people, 22 of them being children, and wounded more than 60 others in attendance. Erdoğan said the Islamic State was most likely behind the attack but the terror group has not claimed responsibility for the bombing.
“The initial findings of the governor and our police forces indicate the attack has been perpetrated by Daesh,” said Erdoğan.
According to the BBC, the wedding guests were attacked as they danced and celebrated the wedding in the street. The local authorities located a suicide vest at the site of the blast. The identity of the child bomber has yet to be determined.
Mark Lowen, BBC News, Istanbul, stated: “The target seems designed for maximum effect: those enjoying a moment of a celebration at a wedding party.” The bombing could be in retaliation for the recent losses IS has experienced in Syria: Kurdish fighters and the US-led coalition pushed them out of Manbij, which until recently was a stronghold for the terror organization.
The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) blames IS for the attack on the wedding party, suggesting that the group targeted the celebrations because the HDP announced its intentions to attempt to end a 30-year-old conflict between the Turkish government and Kurdish forces.
Erdoğan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Aug. 9 to resolve broken relations between the two countries. Russia began lifting sanctions on Turkey, stabilizing affairs. It has been seen as suspicious by many, but Turkey’s ambassador to the European Union, Selim Yenel, pointed out that at this time last year, Turkey had “even stronger relations with Russia.”
This deadly attack is just one of many carried out against the Turkish citizens. The most recent occurred in the previous week. Several separate bombs detonated in Elazig, Bitlis, and Van, killed 11 people and injured about 300 others. This is the deadliest incident since the assault on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that claimed more than 40 lives on June 29.
In the eyes of the Turkish government, there are no lines of distinction between groups that disagree with the government and terror groups. “There is no difference between the PKK, Daesh (ISIS), and FETO. They all serve the same purpose,” emphasized Erdoğan. Amidst claims the government has not done enough to combat terrorism, Turkey, in conjunction with its allies, has pledged to continue to fight against terrorism in the region.
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