Who Bombed the Synagogues:
Al-Qaida or Turkish Terrorists?
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
More than two dozen Jews and others were killed and over 300 wounded as a
result of the terrorist bombings at two synagogues in Istanbul last week.
High-ranking Turkish officials immediately pointed the finger of
responsibility to international terrorists, more specifically to al-Qaida,
in order to divert the blame away from domestic Turkish terrorist groups. By
using such a tactic, the Turks also seek to gain the sympathy of the world
as victims of international terrorism!
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, without a shred of evidence, confidently
announced: "It is obvious that this terrorist attack has some international
connections." Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu said as he arrived on the
scene: "Obviously, an act of this scale suggests an organization [outside]
Turkey." The international wire services disseminated worldwide the
disinformation of these Turkish officials! Three days later, most newspapers
and TV networks headlined the alleged link to al-Qaida after a group
"suspected of links to al-Qaida" reportedly sent an e-mail claiming
responsibility. This is the same group that takes credit for most acts
around the world, including the blackouts this summer in the United States
Israeli officials, for their own reasons, also pinned the blame on al-Qaida
and various Arab terrorist groups. The Associated Press reported that an
anonymous "senior Israeli government source said the attack must have been
at least coordinated with international terror organizations. The operation
suggests the bombs 'were the making of al-Qaida or Hezbollah,' the Lebanese
guerrilla movement backed by Syria and Iran."
Most of the media ignored the fact that a militant Turkish Islamic group,
the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front (IBDA-C) called the Anatolia News
Agency immediately after the bombings to claim responsibility. The group
threatened to carry out more attacks in the future "in order to prevent the
oppression of Muslims." Turkish police, not happy with this disclosure,
dismissed the claim by saying the attack was too sophisticated to be the
work of that group.
Contrary to these denials, the IBDA-C has a long record of committing such
horrible crimes. According to an Israeli source (DEBKA file), "since the
1970's, the IBDA-C has carried out a steady three to four attacks a year."
Furthermore, the Turkish police forgot that it had accused this group of a
bombing attack which injured 10 people in downtown Istanbul on Dec. 31,
2000. As Israel's DEBKA file indicates, there are "several Turkish illegal
Islamist terrorist groups who use terrorist tactics to fight for the
establishment of an Islamic republic in Turkey."
Also forgotten was the fact that one of these synagogues, the Neve Shalom,
has been attacked twice in the past 17 years - the first time in 1986
resulting in the killing of 22 worshippers and the wounding of six others,
and the second time in 1992. Turkish officials, using the same trick of
diverting attention away from domestic Turkish terror groups, blamed the
1986 attack, without any corroborating evidence, on radical Palestinians.
The 1992 bombing was conveniently blamed on "the Iranian-backed Shiite
Muslim group Hezbollah."
The Turkish government has another important reason for wanting to blame
international terrorists for these attacks. Ali Carkoglu of Sabanci
University in Istanbul is quoted in the Christian Science Monitor as saying
that if these terrorist attacks were linked to domestic Turkish groups,
there would be serious internal political upheavals. "Any involvement of the
Turkish Islamist groups in the attacks could intensify the simmering
conflict between the AKP [pro-Islamic] government and the secularists,"
Domestic terrorism against fellow Turks and vi
olence against minorities is
commonplace in Turkey. The country has a long history of intolerance and
oppression against Jews, Greeks, Assyrians, Kurds and Armenians. Even though
the Turkish government would like to perpetuate the myth that minorities in
Turkey, particularly Jews, are free of any discrimination or harassment,
from time to time anti-Semitic statements are made not only by journalists
but by government officials as well. Yet, no high-ranking official ever
condemns these vicious attacks against Jews, let alone against the other
more vulnerable minorities!
While no one at this time knows with absolute certainty the identities and
the affiliations of those who carried out the despicable attacks against the
two Istanbul synagogues, the international community should not take for
granted the self-serving Turkish claims that these bombings were carried out
by international terrorists, and not by Turkish terror groups!