Lawyers for victims of the 2015 Ankara bomb attack carried out by ISIS have blasted a recent statement made by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar linking a string of ISIS terror attacks to the collapse of the peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
In surprising remarks made during budget talks on Nov. 13, Akar said that the anti-terror operations against the PKK in 2016 that marked the end of the peace process came after ISIS attacks in the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, the capital Ankara, the southeastern province of Gaziantep and Istanbul Atatürk Airport.
"The peace process was very important in our history. The state showed all of its compassion and patience and said, 'Let's end this terror and talk,'" Akar said, going on to list the deadliest ISIS attacks as an excuse to end the peace process.
The Ankara attack killed 103 people in what was the worst terror attack in Turkish history. The other attacks Akar mentioned all occurred in 2016.
The October 10 Ankara Trial Lawyers Commission responded to Akar's statements by saying they are an attempt to mislead the public, referencing a remark in 2015 by then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who referred to the attack as 'cocktail terror,' claiming that groups including ISIS, the PKK and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) were united in their efforts to foment chaos in Turkey.
The Ankara bombing was carried out by members of a Turkish ISIS cell and targeted a demonstration of leftist groups that assembled near the city's former main train station.
“All of these statements and practices which try to show the perpetrators of the massacres in different places and see the victims as criminals also clearly show how distorted the perspective of the state officials is on these massacres,” the lawyers said in their statement.
“However, their main task should be to find the true perpetrators of the massacres rather than making statements that distort the facts.”