Turkey in shock after Turkish Airport attack – What we know now

Turkey in shock

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Turkish Airport Attack – Turkey in shock

by Beverly Russell op-ed Trumpville Report

Turkish airport attack being assessed by embassy to see if any Australians were killed in the terrorist attack in Istanbul. Istanbul’s Ataturk airport – the third-busiest airport in Europe. Three suicide bombers killed at least 36 people and wounded 147.

The Australian embassy in Turkey is desperately trying to establish if any Australian tourists have been killed in the terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport . Many Australian tourists may have arrived in Istanbul and then travelled down to the Gallipoli peninsular to pay their respects to the Anzacs as is the norm,The Australian reports. Australian authorities in Istanbul still could not confirm if any travellers from Australia had been caught up in the carnage. Many of the injured were ferried to local hospitals by local taxis with many of those involved in the explosion still to be identified.

Heroism limited carnage

Eyewitnesses described the moment a hero police officer shot down a suicide bomber before he was able to detonate his explosives, giving terrified holidaymakers a chance to escape and saving countless lives.

In shocking footage that captured the moment, one of the gunmen can be seen running through the international arrivals terminal before falling to the ground – apparently felled by a police bullet – sending his AK-47 skidding across the floor. The police officer then approaches the gunman before realising he is about to detonate his suicide vest and running for his life. Moments later, as the gunman writhes in pain on the floor, he detonates his bomb and the screen goes blank. It is understood that a ‘terrorist’ first opened fire with a Kalashnikov, before blowing himself up.

One witness, whose name was given as Omar, told TRT that his brother was wounded in the explosion at the arrivals hall as he was fetching his luggage. Covered in blood and in obvious distress, Omar described hearing both “the explosion” and “a lot of gunfire”. He ran inside to look for his family, he said, and saw his brother lying on the floor. “I don’t know what to do,” he said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the Turkish Airport attack yet.

No terrorist organization took immediate responsibility for the attack – although many believe the attack was organized by Kurdish separatists who have been battling against the Republic of Turkey for the last thirty-seven years. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey – comprising an estimated 25 percent of the nation’s 80 million inhabitants.

Others blamed the Ataturk airport attack on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – which is looking to flex its muscle in the aftermath of recent territorial losses. ISIS has launched terror attacks in Turkey already this year – and the style of this particular assault was similar to a March 2016 bombing in Brussels carried out by the caliphate.

Just yesterday, the U.S. State Department issued a warning urging Americans to “avoid travel” to southeastern Turkey due to “increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey.”

Turkey in shock, while “Foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations,” the warning stated.

“Our prayers are with the families of those killed and injured in Istanbul. The whole world is stunned and horrified,” said presumed GOP nominee Donald Trump. “The terrorist threat has never been greater. Our enemies are brutal and ruthless and will do anything to murder those who do not bend to their will. We must take steps now to protect America from terrorists, and do everything in our power to improve our security to keep America safe.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on all governments, especially in the west, to join forces in taking a “firm stand against terror”.

“The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world. Make no mistake: for terrorist organisations there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berlin, Izmir and Chicago or Antalya and Rome.

“Unless all government and the entire mankind join forces in the fight against terrorism, much worse things than what we fear to imagine today will come true.”

Turkey’s justice minister, Bekir Bozdağ, told parliament in Ankara of the attack. “I harshly condemn those who executed this terrorist attack, and those who gave the orders for it,” Bozdağ said.

Jared Malsin, a correspondent for Time, tweeted from the scene: “Hundreds of travellers now streaming out of the airport. Some saying they were trapped inside for 2+ hours … several witnesses confirming two separate explosions, the second one triggering a stampede inside the arrival hall.”

Still Turkey in shock

The exact identity of the perpetrators remains unconfirmed–i.e., whether they were disgruntled Turkish militants acting in alliance with al Qaeda, or whether they were foreign infiltrators. If it emerges that Turkey was infiltrated by al Qaeda, then surely attention must turn to the border with Iraq–within which a coalition of former Ba’athists, disgruntled locals, and foreign infiltrators seem to be conducting the insurgency against the U.S.-led occupation. If it can be shown that such infiltration would be impossible, then attention must turn to other countries bordering Turkey–which to a neocon’s delight, would have to include Syria. It may be fanciful to surmise that Islamic terrorists could have crossed into Turkey from Iraq via Syria–but Syria did hand over 22 Turkish nationals to the Turkish authorities in connection with the bombings, men who had clear links to the perpetrators who blew themselves up in Istanbul on November 15 and 20. Similarly, it was inconceivable before last week that Turkey could have suffered the attacks , or that an organisation such as al Qaeda or Isis had a presence in a country such as Turkey.

Attention initially turned to a little known-group–the Kurdish Hezbollah (distinct from their better-known Lebanese namesake)–who subsume their Kurdish nationalism into an Islamist profile that presumably allows then to act as local sub-contractors for al Qaeda and/or the Islamic International Front. Arrests made so far have been Turkish nationals–so the theory that these attacks are the work of local Islamic militants distinct from but generally sympathetic to al Qaeda (though the level of distinction and locally derived motives is unclear) is the best one available at the moment. A similar thesis is used in analysis of the Casablanca and Riyadh bombings earlier this year. On November 1, the Turkish government made a statement linking the attackers to al Qaeda. Other reports in Turkish newspapers suggest that two of the main suspects, Habib Ektas and Azad Ekinci, both Turks, had contact with Ayman al-Zawahiri, widely regarded as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man.

Whatever precise information emerges over the coming days and weeks, what is clear is that attacks of this kind will likely recur. Whether they have any direct link to continuing anti-coalition attacks in Iraq remains to be seen. Coming in the week that preceded the deaths of 7 Spanish intelligence agents and not long after the deaths of 18 Italian military police and other personnel, all these attacks, in Iraq and outside, seem to have one thing in common. Warnings are being sent to American allies–and the ferocious nature of the warnings is intended to drive a wedge between these allies and Washington.

It remains to be seen whether a new marker has been set in al Qaeda’s range. Perhaps Turkey was a likely target given its domestic and international policies. This said, al Qaeda has now left its mark on geographic Europe, in a country seeking EU membership. Given recent remarks attributed to Osama bin Laden–warning Japan, Australia, Britain, among others–perhaps it is not only Americans who need to worry. But a year ago, statements attributed to bin Laden included a threat to Norway, and this has not yet manifested itself in attacks on North Sea oilrigs or Norwegian aid workers in Afghanistan. However, such warnings carry extra resonance when they occur simultaneously to a double series of suicide bombings in one of Europe’s largest cities.

In the immediate aftermath police barred access to the airport and some flights were diverted away from Istanbul. Videos on TRT showed travellers being evacuated to safety.

Turkish authorities issued a broadcast ban on the attack and Erdoğan held an emergency meeting with the prime minister and military commanders .

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts.

British foreign office officials said they were “urgently seeking further information” following the attack. The defence secretary, Philip Hammond, said he was “shocked” but “we stand ready to help”.

Turkey has been on high security alert after a string of terrorist attacks. Two deadly bombings in Istanbul earlier this year were blamed on Islamic State. In early June a car suicide bomb killed 12 people in the central Vezneciler district of Istanbul in an attack claimed by radical Kurdish militants.

Facebook activated its safety check feature in the wake of the explosions. The tool lets users who are at or near the site of a natural disaster or terrorist attack mark themselves and others as safe, as well as check if any of their friends have been affected. Facebook’s disaster response page posted a status in relation to the blasts.

It is passed time the world comes together and stops these terrorist attacks ! We can no longer turn a blind eye to all the terror that is happening ! Whether it Al Qaeda or Isis it is radical Islamic terrorism and it must be defeated before its to late! Pray for Turkey in shock.

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