TURKEY’S rapid descent into chaos continued as president Erdogan blamed Daesh for a bomb blast which killed at least 50 people and injured more than 100 more in the south-eastern city of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.
The suicide bombing struck a wedding party late on Saturday August 20, with the explosion rippling through the city just one day after Turkey announced it would take a more proactive role in the Syria crisis following a conciliatory meeting between Erdogan and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Turkey is still reeling from the aftermath of a violent coup attempt which has seen thousands of suspected followers of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdogan accuses of responsibility for the brief insurrection. The country is also dealing with an increasingly violent confrontation with Kurdish PKK fighters attempting to forge a homeland out of the ashes of northern Syria.
Mehmet Simsek, Turkey’s new deputy prime minister described the attack as ‘barbaric’ and said “all terror groups, the PKK, Daesh, the Gulen movement, are targeting Turkey. But, God willing, we will overcome them.”
In June 44 people were killed in a Daesh-linked militant attack on Istanbul’s main airport, following a wave of attacks that have seen tourist numbers plummet and a de facto state of emergency declared.