Aftermath of ISIS attack on HDP members' wedding. Gaziantep, August 20.
The bombing of the wedding of two members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) in the southern city of Gaziantep on August 20 killed 54 people, including 29 children. ISIS appears to be responsible, although like other attacks by ISIS in Turkey over the past year and a half, the targets have been opponents of the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Erdoğan government has given substantial material and logistical support to ISIS to enable their fight against Kurdish-led left-wing forces in Syria: the Peoples Protection Units (YPG), Women's Protection Units (YPJ) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Since the Gaziantep bombing, Turkish forces have invaded Syria, allegedly as response to the ISIS attack. However, this incursion is not targeting ISIS but is instead aimed at the YPG, YPJ and SDF.
The following statement was released by the HDP on August 21.
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We condemn the inhumane attack in Gaziantep.
As a result of the terror attack targeting the wedding of HDP members in Akdere neighbourhood in Sahinbey, district of Gaziantep, more than 50 citizens including women and children lost their lives, and more than hundred are wounded. Our sorrow is great.
We condemn and curse the ones who launched this attack, both the forces and ideology behind their actions. We would like to express our condolences for the deceased and wish a fast recovery to the wounded, and our deepest sympathy for the families.
This attack resembles the bombings targeting our party in June 2015 in Adana, Mersin and Diyarbakır, as well as, the attacks on July 20, 2015, in Suruç and October 10, 2015, in Ankara.
Over the years, Gaziantep has gradually become a nest for ISIS. The people of Gaziantep have been living in an environment with ISIS members who amass weapons and organise mass meetings. On some indictments, it was revealed that the ones launching the attack on October 10 in Ankara had also been planning to attack a Kurdish wedding. However, the ruling party did not take the necessary steps to prevent these plans despite all the warnings.
It's quite significant that this attack on the Kurdish wedding happened on the very night Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) announced a declaration of negotiation and resolution with the Turkish government.
Notably, the last time the KCK announced it would like to restart peace talks, two suicide bombers attacked the Ankara Train Station on Oct. 10, 2015. Following the Ankara bombing, images of bloody carnage spread around the country, discussion of peace and resolution was prevented, and people were pushed away from hopes of a more stable country.
The ruling party's hate speech, discriminating and dividing attitude in democratic political arenas furnishes the conditions for such attacks. Those sparking and encouraging hate and hostility against the Kurds have committed a great sin.
This attack targets those determined and persistent in peace … and those struggling for democracy, equality, freedom and justice. The attack was planned to disable the spread of peace and success of possible negotiations.
This attack shows the vital importance of a common fight against the barbarism of ISIS. All people who still hold honour and conscience feel pain in their hearts. We will overcome these difficult days with these people, and the solidarity of those demanding peace.
We would like to express our condolences for the victims of this attack, wish a fast recovery for the wounded, and offer our deepest sympathy for the affected families.