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As bloodshed plagues Turkey, politicians enjoy full security

A wave of terrorist attacks in Turkey has claimed hundreds of innocent lives, but never the armchairs of government and security officials.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R), Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar (L), Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (2nd L) and the father Ali Cil (R) stand behind the flag-draped coffin of Army officer Seckin Cil during a funeral ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, February 18, 2016. Army officer Seckin Cil was killed during the clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants in Sur district of the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX27ISS
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Over the past year, 12 large bomb attacks, the last at Istanbul’s main airport June 28, have rattled Turkey, claiming close to 300 lives and leaving some 1,500 people wounded. The one-year timespan is not chosen casually here as the unprecedented wave of bloodshed started after the June 7, 2015, election in which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since coming to power in 2002. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan argued at the time that a coalition government would mean instability, and, through various machinations, blocked any such prospect, forcing new elections on Nov. 1. The tactic worked. The AKP restored its majority and returned to power alone. Yet, far from receding, the spiral of violence has only intensified since then.

The bloodiest attacks have been blamed on or claimed by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Islamic State (IS). Meanwhile, another “terrorist organization” has been omnipresent in government rhetoric — the followers of US-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen. Ankara’s history with these three groups is crucial for understanding Turkey’s current security turmoil.

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