By: Micah Price ~Staff Writer~
Turkey, one of the most stable countries in the Middle East, was rocked during the weekend by several explosions in its capital, Ankara. The suicide bombings, which killed 97 people and wounded nearly 250 on Saturday, have been attributed to ISIS. The infamous terrorist group has been at the root of many Eurasian nations’ recent troubles.
Until recently, Turkey had managed to avoid full-scale conflict with ISIS, with rumors of a quid pro quo deal for the release of Turkish hostages in Iraq earlier this year. This status is in question as Turkey recently began allowing the U.S. to facilitate airstrikes from its Incirlik Air Base in the south of the country.
Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, migrants and refugees have seen Turkey as the first step out of the tumultuous region. With the more recent rise of ISIS, unprecedented levels of refugees have been streaming across the border into Turkey, as well as Europe, then into camps that have long been overcrowded.
The bombings also come in the midst of internal conflict. The explosions happened during a daytime march in protest of the renewed tension between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish government. This is not the only cause for strain between the Turkish government and its people. Opponents of President Tayipp Erdogan, who has been in power for 13 years, blame him for the attack and criticize state intelligence for not being able to stop it.
If this incident is an indicator that Turkey has more problems than it can handle, then this is bad news for the rest of North Atlantic Treaty Organization, since Turkey has long been a bulwark for stability in the Middle East and the bridge connecting east and west. With federal elections right around the corner, no doubt international eyes will be focused on Turkey, but most immediately, its response to the worstever bombings on Turkish soil will perhaps define the country’s future.