A suicide bombing against an outdoor wedding party in the southern Turkish city of Gazientep has killed at least 51 people and wounded 94 others, according to officials. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
Turkish officials appeared to concede they aren’t sure who was behind the attack, with Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek saying that the PKK, ISIS, and the Gulenist movement are all attacking Turkey right now, and that the country will overcome all these strikes.
ISIS is probably the best bet, however, as the city is just north of the Syrian border, and on the Syrian side it is an area controlled overwhelmingly by ISIS in the Aleppo Province. ISIS also tends to be less willing to take credit for attacks inside Turkey. That this was in a mostly Kurdish district and many of the attendees were Kurds also makes a PKK strike relatively less likely.
Turkey has struggled with growing numbers of terrorist attacks from myriad different groups nationwide, including not just the PKK and ISIS, but also groups like the Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front. Turkey is also in the midst of a massive purge after last month’s failed military coup, which the government is blaming on the Gulenist movement. This purge has seen over 40,000 people jailed and much larger numbers fired from government posts.
This major attack, while just one of many for Turkey, is likely to raise questions about whether the purge is weakening the government’s ability to prevent terrorist operations inside major cities in the country, and could prove embarrassing for the Erdogan government.
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