ISIS Targets Kurds in Southern Turkey
An ISIS-linked suicide bomber attacked the southern Turkish border town of Suruç last Monday, killing 32 and wounding 100. The victims were preparing for a trip to reconstruct the war-torn Syrian town of Kobane, which has been held by the Kurdish People’s Democratic Union (PYD) since late January after a four-month battle with ISIS. Analysts have described the attack as spillover from the ISIS-PYD conflict and the broader struggle between Islamists and Kurds in Syria and Iraq. The Islamist-versus-Kurdish dichotomy, however, is too simplistic: the bomber in this week’s attack was reportedly an ethnic Kurd himself.
The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) made global headlines last month as it became Turkey’s first predominantly Kurdish party to pass the nationwide election threshold. With a female co-chair and Christian and LGBT candidates, the HDP epitomizes the popular Western perception of Kurds as secular, liberal and pro-Western.