Bombing at the Peace Rally in Ankara: What is the cost of change?
At the 9th of October, at the Ankara Railway Station, two bombs exploded and killed around 128 people, leaving 247 wounded.On Friday, shortly after the gathering for the peaceful rally organised by Turkey’s legal Kurdish party – the Peoples’ Democratic Party – and trade unions. The purpose of the rally was to advocate peace in the Kurdish region in a non-violent way. However, the performance of traditional dances shortly before the beginning of the rally was broken up by two explosions. Around 128 people died and more than 247 were wounded.
The Government says the security apparatus did not make any mistakes.
In the first statement, the minister of internal affairs, Selami Altinok, claimed that there were no security flaws and that no resignations would take place. Furthermore, what followed was yet another blockade of social media which was justified with a concern for “spreading panic”. The news coverage was censored and Facebook and Twitter are still under the blockade all over the country. The Turkish Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) also imposed a ban on broadcasting images of the blast.Aftermath – the Unrest
After the bombing, the protesters turned against the police and threw water bottles at the police cars and governmental buildings. The police responded with tear gas and conflicts continued during the night. The next day, another rally took place in the streets of Ankara. This time, there was no conflict and protesters flooded the streets mourning the victims of yesterdays’ attack.
Nothing that can be said can ever return the lives lost. But even the mourning silence has to be broken by the question: Who did this?
Let us take a look at the current political situation and presidents Erdogan’s aspirations to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system, which would allow him a greater security and a possibility to get yet another mandate and stay in office until 2024. In order to do so, he needs two thirds of the parliamentary votes. When Turkey’s Kurdish Party gained the necessary 10% of votes and entered the Parliament, president Erdogan lost his absolute parliamentary majority which means that for the first time he needs to make a coalition. But the situation is even more complicated than this: presence of ISIS soldiers in neighboring Syria, the cease-fire with PKK, growing distrust of the Turkish public… If this was not a government-orchestrated campaign to gain far-right voters, then it was definitely a huge security failure that can’t be overlooked.
Katarina Mihaljević is a Philosophy, Science and Society student from Croatia. Among other things, she reads and writes about politics, society and literature.
Image: rogiro on Flickr.