Europe

Suruc massacre: Turkey government comes under fire

Composite of front pages from Turkish newspapers Image copyright BBC Monitoring
Image caption "We condemn" says Hurriyet, whilst Zaman talks of "savagery"

Newspapers in Turkey have reacted with shock and dismay to Monday's deadly attack in the border town of Suruc, with some newspapers accusing the government of taking too little action to deal with the challenge posed by the militant group Islamic State (IS).

The criticism is not taken up by newspapers supportive of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party, who instead accuse unnamed outside forces of pulling Turkey into the Syrian civil war.

"Savagery," reads a headline in Zaman. "Chaotic massacre," says Sabah. "Murderers," declares Evrensel. "Let them be damned," says centrist Milliyet.

Among the many papers siding with the official line, the pro-government Star describes the attack as the work of "sinister hands who want to carry the war in Kobane to Turkey".

The line is echoed by pro-government paper, Turkiye, which says the aim is to "drag Turkey into the quagmire".

Miscalculations

But many opposition and leftist papers argue that Mr Erdogan and his party are to blame for having failed to secure the border and take a tougher line against the IS group.

Writing in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz says President Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davatoglu must take some blame as it had been obvious for some time that Turkey was likely to get dragged into the Syria war.

Image copyright BBC Monitoring
Image caption "They've crossed the border" and "Let them be damned", some of the Turkish headlines say

"The Erdogan-Davutoglu pair made all their calculations wrong, provoked the civil war in a neighbouring country and turned a blind eye to the border violations," Mr Yilmaz writes.

"And innocent people have paid for the price of their mistakes."

Murat Yetkin, in centre-left Radikal, predicts the government will now have to take a tougher line on IS.

But writing in secular Cumhuriyet, Orhan Bursali warns: "Turkey is sailing in dangerous waters".

IS appears to be trying to "settle old accounts in Turkey", he adds.

The paper also suggests that, should the crisis escalate, the government might even use it to call an early election in the hope of boosting its votes and securing a majority in parliament.

'Turning point'

In the wider region, this view is shared by international Arab-language newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi, which says "the time has come for Turkey to review its position on the war on terror".

It also calls on Ankara to adopt "tougher security measures to cut the sources of funding for the fighters, weapons and funds".

Several papers in the Middle East suggest Ankara is paying the price for allowing foreign fighters to use Turkey as a transit state and some even accuse it of providing them with money and weapons.

In Syria, where the regime has been strongly opposed by the Turkish government, state-owned Al-Thawrah bluntly says the attack is the result of "Erdogan's hosting of terrorist organisations".

Image copyright AP
Image caption At least 32 people were killed in the attack

"Turkey is paying the price for arming Daesh," says a front-page headline in Egyptian privately-owned paper, Al-Misri al-Yawm, using a pejorative term based on an Arabic acronym for the group.

Egypt's state-run Al-Ahram says in an article entitled "Fire of Daesh burns Turkey", Ankara is accused of "turning a blind eye" to the presence of IS fighters on Turkish soil.

Lebanese Al-Akhbar also wonders if the ruling party might benefit politically from the attack. However, Qatari Al-Arab appears to be more sympathetic, noting that Qatar condemns "the criminal explosion" in Suruc and pledges to "stand by the brotherly Turkish state".

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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