Attack on Atatürk airport … Among secret meetings and international entanglements

Sofokleousin.grJune 29, 2016

On the night of Tuesday, June 28, six terrorists attacked Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. Two of them were self-propelled and four fired indiscriminately with Kalashnikovs. Initial estimates, through the Turkish Justice Minister, spoke about 28 dead and more than 100 injured. The minister said they know who is hiding behind the attack, but they will wait for the investigation to finish. An hour after the attack, Istanbul was put in a state of emergency and all flights to Atatürk Airport were interrupted. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan convened an extraordinary meeting with the Prime Minister and the Army Chief.

The big question is: Who is behind this terrorist attack? The terrorists used Kalashnikov, which is not the usual weapon of the Turkish army and the Turkish security services. But it is the usual weapon of the PKK and ISIS.

Two weeks ago, the Syrian Kurds crossed the Euphrates river to the west, controlling more areas near the Syrian-Turkish border. At the same time, the Syrian opposition attacked ISIS in the area near the border, north of Halab (Aleppo), also controlling it. If we study the geography of the border, we will see that ISIS controls no more than 40 km of the border line, which is closely monitored by the Turkish army. For the two previous terrorist attacks in Turkey, the Kurds took responsibility. Are they, too, responsible for the latter?

Antakya meeting

At the beginning of June, in a secret meeting with the presence of a representative of the US secret services, a representative of the Turkish government, a representative of the PYD, a representative of the PKK and a representative of the FSA, the US side presented an action plan to resolve Turkish-Kurdish conflict in northern Syria and southern Turkey. The key points of this plan are the following:

  • Authorization for PYD forces in Syria to cross west of the Euphrates River and fight ISIS with a view to moving away from the Syrian-Turkish border. After controlling these areas, they will be put under Arabic command and not Kurdish.
  • Release of Abdullah Öcalan from prison.
  • Disposal of the PKK fighters from southern Turkey and northern Syria and the end of the war between them and the Turkish government.
  • Handing over more power to Kurds in southern Turkey to manage their regions and participate in Turkey’s political life.
  • Immediate complete cessation of PKK operations within Turkey.
  • The US Government will monitor all stages and ensure full implementation of all points.

This meeting ended without a positive or negative result, with the Turkish side asking for more time to look at the plan.

Gaziantep meeting

A few days after the meeting in Antakya, there was a secret meeting between the representative of the Russian secret services, a representative of the Turkish government and a representative of the FSA Brigade Victory.

The Russian official has asked to allow Russia to provide the militia weapons through the Turkish border for confronting ISIS in northern Syria on the one hand and fighting PYD on the other. The Russian spokesman returned to Moscow with a positive response from the Turkish side and a message from the Turkish government that indicated its willingness to take Russia’s rapprochement steps.

Over the last two weeks, we have seen a flirt between the Russian and Turkish administrations, in fact after sending to Vladimir Putin a letter of apology from Tayyip Erdoğan about the recent downing of the Russian aircraft and the declaration of its desire to put again the water in the groove, culminating in Turkey’s invitation from Russia to hold talks during the meeting of countries participating in the Organization for Economic Co-operation of the Black Sea Countries (BSEC) in Sochi in early July and which we await with great interest.

Between the meetings of Antakya and Gaziantep and the attack on Atatürk airport, the picture becomes clearer. Since there was acceptance of the Russian proposal by the Turkish side, there was a denial of the American proposal. Here I would like to emphasize that, although ISIS can assume responsibility for the attack, this does not preclude PKK involvement, as it benefits most from the disruption of Turkish security.

In the next few days, more light will fall on the actual events, so we will see a strong military reaction from the Turkish side inside Turkey and Syria, which will not delight the American leadership at all.