Two months ago, the Hagia Sophia area was the target; today it was another Instanbul tourist trap. And it is beginning to become a trend:
A suicide attacker detonated a bomb on Istanbul’s main pedestrian shopping street on Saturday, killing five people, the city’s governor said. Turkey’s health minister said thirty-six people were wounded in the attack including twelve foreign nationals.
Governor Vasip Sahin said the explosion occurred outside a local government office on Istiklal Street, which is also home to cafes, restaurants and foreign consulate buildings. Sahin said one of wounded victims died in hospital and that the attacker was among the dead.
Turkey’s health minister, Mehmet Muezzinoglu, did not provide information on the nationalities of the injured foreigners. But the private Dogan news agency said at least three of the injured are Israeli nationals and that the wounded included two children. And private NTV said at least one Iranian was among the injured.
The, shall we say, jumbled assortment of victims in terms of nationality suggests that this isn't a jihadist strike, even if the mode of attack fits that description. For a change, the Turks aren't trying to blame ISIS:
There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but suspicion has undoubtedly fallen on Kurdish separatists who are waging a war in Turkey’s southeast.
Saturday’s attack further suggests that this conflict is spilling over into urban areas, with bombings targeting both Turkish soldiers and civilians in recent weeks.
Kurdish militants claimed responsibility for a car bomb last week that struck a square of shops and restaurants in the capital, Ankara, killing at least thirty-seven people. The Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, asserted responsibility for an attack February 17th in Ankara that killed twenty-eight Turkish soldiers.
Nobody has taken "credit" for this cowardly act yet, but it is ominously interesting how both ISIS and the PKK can use each other to disguise each other's attacks, even while they fight each other on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. It is, as it were, a "vicious triangle" with Turkey itself at its lowest point, which is what tends to happen when you go out of your way to multiply your enemies without doing what is necessary to defeat any of them. If the Russians really have withdrawn from western Syria, that might give the Turks the free hand they need to do just that. Clearly they have to do something, and soon.