The reaction of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the attack which took place on November 13th in the shopping street of Istanbul she didn’t wait. Saturday night there Turkey threw one new military operation against the north of the Syria and ofIraqhitting the People’s Protection Unit (ypg) Kurdish–arab and the Kurdish Workers Party (Pkk). They ended up in the sights of the Turkish military KobaneAin Issa, Tel RifaatDerik e Derbasiyebut also SulaymaniyaQandil e Shengal, against which the air force dropped its bombs. The fire was particularly intense on Kobane and Derik, which were hit for several hours during the night and then again during the morning.
Kobane on the other hand is the symbolic city of the Kurdish resistance atIsis and it has long been one of the objectives of President Erdogan, who aims to expand the buffer zone under the control of his army or the jihadist militias close to him and active in Syria. In this area, Turkey would like to relocate at least one million refugeestowards which the population is increasingly hostile and which constitute a problem for the electoral success of the president’s party.
However, the operation launched between Saturday and Sunday could be just the beginning of a longer campaign against northern Syria and possibly also against Iraq, which is also burdened by attacks by Iran. In fact, President Erdogan has declared that Turkey is considering the possibility of leading a land operation in Syria and northern Iraq to hit even harder the Kurdish “terrorists”, indicated which ones responsible of the attack in Istanbul.
There reconstruction official of the attack, however, is always more weakas he explains Francis Strazzari, political scientist and professor of international relations at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa. “Several details have emerged that put in discussion what was stated less than 24 hours after the explosion by the Minister of the Interior Soylustarting from the fact that the person responsible would be one militant Syrian for a Kurdish group who had been planning the attack for some time and who, after carrying it out, quietly returned home”. But that is not all. Doubts are also raised by the alleged involvement of the Democratic Union Party (pyd), which has never claimed responsibility for the explosion in Istanbul or carried out attacks against Turkey in the past, even under US pressure. Not counting the alleged links between the attacker and a member of the Turkish nationalist party, an ally of Erdogan.
“The Turkish press talks about eavesdropping of phone calls that the woman allegedly made with a deputy of theMhp, Erdogan’s government ally. The person concerned dismissed the issue by speaking of identity theft”, Strazzari explains. “The same staging of the photos in which the alleged manager wears the sweatshirt with the writing New York and which suggests an American responsibility does not add up”. To weigh on the reconstruction of the story is also the climate of silence by the media and the opposition in Parliament, who are not allowed to ask questions about what happened or about the progress of the investigation, surrounded by a aura of mystery.
What is certain, however, is that the attack in Istanbul plays into the hands of the Turkish president both domestically and internationally. “The season of violence and the fight against terrorism they strengthen Erdogan when he is pressed by Kemalist party (the Chp). The attack also comes shortly after the AKP opened up to dialogue with the pro-Turkish party HDP with the ultimate goal of subtract votes in opposition. A dialogue that had surprisingly received the blessing of the nationalists, who have always been hostile towards the HDP. These strong tactical changes have destabilized the Turkish political framework”, continues Strazzari.
The attack therefore offers Erdogan the opportunity to to use terrorism to cement urban voting ahead of next electionsbut also to legitimize a new offensive military, which would come after a crescendo of attacks on areas where the Kurds exercise forms of self-government. “Playing the anti-terrorism card and of the international protagonism with respect to the war in UkraineErdogan aims to regain those points he needs to overcome the negative effects of the political and economic crisis that is crossing Turkey”, explains Professor Strazzari. And to pursue their interests internationally, demonstrating their own relevance even beyond national borders. In fact, it is no coincidence that the attack against northern Syria took place without after consultation with the Russia they Use, both actors active in the country and in particular in the areas affected by the bombings. “Turkey in this way claims that when it comes to counter-terrorism it has no need anyone’s permissioneven in the case of operations that take place outside its own borders“, specifies Strazzari.
On the other hand, in launching these latest bombings, the Interior Minister cited Turkey’s right to self-defense pursuant to thearticle 51 of the Charter of the United Nations and stated that the operation was directed against areas “used as basis by terrorists for their attacks on our country” with the ultimate goal of preventing attacks and securing its southern border. A narrative that contrasts with that of Pkk he was born in pyd and which risks imposing a new stop to the negotiations for the purchase of F-16 ongoing with the Use, against which several senators, both Democrats and Republicans, have already spoken out. The game Erdogan is playing in Syria and Iraq is becoming increasingly dangerous, but the president seems intent on doing anything to avoid losing power.