An explosion in the center of Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet tourist district killed at least ten (Reuters) people and wounded fifteen Tuesday morning. Government officials said the explosion was believed to be “terror-linked,” although there was no immediate claim (WSJ) of responsibility for the attack (Hurriyet). The incident comes as Turkey battles Kurdish militants in its southeast and self-proclaimed Islamic State insurgents just across its southern borders in Syria and Iraq.
"If confirmed to be a terrorist attack, it would be the third major incident in Turkey since the middle of last year. Thirty-two people were killed in a July bombing in Suruc and another 100 in Ankara in October. Both were blamed by the Turkish government on Isis militants working in tandem with local terrorists," writes Mehul Srivastava for the Financial Times.
"Beneath the world’s radar, a serious insurgency has been simmering in Turkey’s Kurdish regions for months. Urban clashes, with three or four casualties each time, are a daily occurrence. Youth groups affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are controlling parts of major Kurdish cities, fighting government forces for greater autonomy. And the Turkish government is responding with a harsh military crackdown that not only targets the militia but ends up affecting civilians," writes Asli Aydintasbas for Politico.
"Ankara is much more interested in tactical gains—supporting its chosen factions in Syria and preventing the rise of Kurdish power and influence. Defeating ISIS is not a Turkish priority. Second, as a logical flow on, the United States should focus its strategic attention elsewhere and enhance cooperation with Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Egypt. Turkey will have little influence on these countries regarding Syria," writes W. Robert Pearson for the Middle East Institute.
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