An explosion struck a metro station in the Istanbul district of Bayrampaşa a short time ago, and the mayor of Bayrampaşa is now telling reporters that it was caused by a “pipe bomb.” There have been conflicting reports about casualties, with some outlets reporting one fatality but others saying only that several people were injured.
I’ll keep updating here as/if more news comes in.
A nearby traffic camera caught the explosion:
Assuming that this was an act of terrorism, the list of suspects will look much like the initial list of suspects in October’s bombing in Ankara: Kurds, leftists, and ISIS. ISIS will presumably be the popular suspect, although this attack seems to have been at such an unsophisticated level that it may make more sense to describe it as an “ISIS inspired” attack rather than an “ISIS attack.”
However, it’s also worth noting that a very high-profile Kurdish human rights leader, Tahir Elci, was just killed on Saturday amid what seems to have been a violent clash between PKK fighters and government forces in Turkey’s Diyarbakır Province. Ankara has been heavily insinuating that the PKK is responsible for Elci’s death, either in a deliberate assassination or because he was caught in the crossfire following a PKK attack, but Kurdish leaders, like the Kurdish political party HDP, are saying that the government murdered him. Elci was a pro-PKK voice, insisting that it was not a terrorist group and calling on the government to resume peace talks with the organization, so he seems like an odd target for a PKK hit, but I suppose anything is possible. And anyway, the actual truth of Elci’s death isn’t all that relevant in this situation; all that’s necessary for the PKK or just some angry Kurd or Kurds to have been inspired to carry out an attack like this is the belief that the government was responsible for Elci’s death.
Elci’s death has ramifications that go well beyond an isolated terror attack in Istanbul, and so part of the reason I mention them here is in case people haven’t heard about it yet. But my point with respect to the metro bombing is that it’s best not to rush to conclusions. There are plenty of possibilities here, including the possibility that the bomber was just some random nut with no particular ideological leanings at all.
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