Pro-Kurdish HDP party condemns Istanbul attack, calls for change in Turkey

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Supporter of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). File photo/AP

ARA News

Erbil – The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Sunday condemned the Saturday’s bomb attack in Istanbul that killed at least 38 people, most of whom were police officers. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) on Sunday claimed responsibility for the attack.

Istanbul has been exposed to at least four large attacks since the first half of 2016, including ISIS-led attacks in January, March and early June, and one linked to TAK. The attack of yesterday is the fourth big attack to take place.

“Following the bomb attack in Istanbul, many families were wrecked with sorrow. We harshly condemn these attacks. We feel a great sadness and share the pain,” the HDP said.

“We would like to express our condolences for the deceased and wish a fast recovery to the wounded, and our deepest sympathy for the families,” the pro-Kurdish party said. “Everyone must do their part to end this pain and prevent new ones from happening.”

The Turkish authorities quickly blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and the Istanbul’s Prosecutor’s Office said three suspects were detained. However, the PKK has so far not made any statement about the attack.

“It is necessary to immediately end the politics, language and tone that produce more tension, polarization, hostility and conflict.” the HDP said. “Turkey should become an exemplary country in the name of peace, democracy and human rights both in domestic and foreign politics and more importantly should become a political actor.”

Several groups have carried out attacks in Turkey, including the PKK, TAK, and ISIS. Some analysts suggest that most likely the PKK was behind the attack due to the fact that mostly security forces were killed. However, the Turkish authorities have not offered any proof of this claim.

On Sunday, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) claimed responsibility for the attack. The group is seen by analysts as a splinter group from the PKK, while others suggest the group is affiliated to the PKK.

The Islamic State has also threatened Turkey and carried out attacks there. Turkey has been actively fighting against ISIS since August in northern Aleppo through the so-called Euphrates Shield Operation, in order to prevent the Syrian Kurds from uniting their canton administrations. Turkey launched the operation after it became clear the Kurds were planning to push to al-Bab city after taking Manbij from ISIS in early August. Before August 2016, Turkey did not actively fight ISIS.

Last week, Turkey sent an additional 300 Turkish soldiers to northern Syria.

The ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in November issued an audiotape calling on ISIS supporters to carry out attacks against the ‘apostate  Turkish army.

Also the newly appointed ISIS spokesperson Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir in December called on ISIS supporters to hit Turkey for backing attacks on the ISIS-held city of al-Bab. “We make a call to every truthful Muslim to target the supports of the apostate, secularist, Turkish state everywhere, including the security, military, economic, and media apparatuses, rather, even every embassy and consulate representing them in all lands of the earth,” the ISIS spokesperson said in a statement released by the ISIS magazine Rumiya on 5 December.

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