Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Suicide Attack in Turkey

Niwtpbh8kl3lzeiriinr
Newscom

July 2003: CG Istanbul moves to its new fortress-on-a-hill location because our historic location (second-oldest USG-owned property abroad) was deemed to be a death trap if someone wanted to attack it.

November 2003: AQ goes on a bombing spree in Istanbul, taking out two synagogues, the HSBC headquarters for Turkey, and the British consulate, killing nearly 60 people at/around the CG, including the Consul General. We were the original target, but our former neighbors down the street were second choice once we moved. Many of our British colleagues move into our large Consulate for several weeks to continue work while their facility was repaired.

July 2008: Three AQ-affiliated gunmen try to storm CG Istanbul. Due to the fact that they can't read a topo map and, more importantly, our Turkish National Police guard force outside the wire is awesome, they were killed before they even got to our main parking lot. Three TNP officers were killed defending us.

October 2009: Several shots were fired at Consulate Adana. Rumored to be AQ affiliates who did it, but I can't remember the resolution of the attack.

Every freaking month for the last decade: Mission Turkey has screamed for a new Embassy compound in Ankara, because the one we have is cramped, unsecure, and in poor physical condition (water/sewage system stopped working completely for three days in 2010 or 2011). Our DC paymasters have patted us on the head and said "That's nice, wait for the money to come in next year's budget." When news accounts call Embassy Ankara "one of the most fortified compounds in the city," don't believe them. That's completely untrue.

And now this. As best as I can tell, one local guard was killed (maybe two?), and a Turkish journalist who'd come to interview for a job with us was severely injured. The sick bastard who did this died in the attack. The GOT has identified him as being a member of DHKP-C or DevSol, a leftist/Marxist group that's been banned in Turkey and is on the US list of terrorist organizations abroad. DHKP and its ilk have a long-standing hatred of the US, NATO, and the Turkish military (which did its best to crush its leftist/Marxist forbears in numerous coups in the twentieth century).

Curious to hear feedback from other diplo community TPM Readers on this.