ISTANBUL, March 14, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Protesters present a banner at Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 14, 2016. Tens of thousands of Turks took to the streets on Monday to protest against the government's failure to prevent more terror attacks, after a latest one in the capital Ankara claimed at least 37 lives. (Xinhua file photo/He Canling)
ISTANBUL, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Amid uneasiness and wariness among Turks and foreigners alike, a bustling street in Istanbul came under a suicide bombing attack on Saturday in the latest of a string of deadly assaults that have hit the country over the past few months, stretching the nerves of a population struggling to live with a growing wave of terror acts.
The attack in Istiklal Street, or Independence Avenue, a pedestrian street popular among both the locals and tourists, left five dead including the attacker and 36 others injured, among them 13 foreigners from five countries.
It came only one week after a car laden with explosives hit central Ankara, Turkey's capital, claiming 37 lives.
Turkish security forces have since been inundated with calls over suspicious activities in big cities each day. The fear of impending terror attacks, meanwhile, has prompted many to turn to social media for more information.
"Yes I'm very much afraid," Turkish lawyer Filiz Kutluas told Xinhua, as she was entering a metro station. "I'm extremely worried, but we have to live as if everything is normal."
Serap Tekeli, a woman from Turkey's western town of Denizli, came to Istanbul to evaluate job opportunities and was mindful of fear prevailing here.
"I'm scared in every step I take," she said. "I'm jumpy anywhere I go, in the metro, in the shopping malls, in the crowds."
The deadliest attack that has ever hit Turkey took place in Ankara in October last year, in which 103 people were killed in twin suicide bombings.
Adding to the sense of worsening security in the country is the ongoing fighting between the security forces and militants with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey, where the group is seeking autonomy.
The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a group with alleged link to the PKK, has claimed responsibility for two recent deadly attacks in Ankara, hardening the government's resolve to fight on.
"We can only break this deadlock by promoting the sentiment of brotherhood and friendship," observed Kutluas.
In her view, Turks and Kurds have to learn to live together with mutual acceptance of each other's stories and tragedies.
"Otherwise it is not possible to find a long-lasting solution," she said. "Fueling the differences and creating a sense of polarization does not help."
A man in his 40s, who lives in Turkey's western coastal city of Izmir, also stressed alternative means to military conflict.
"We can solve this issue only by investing on those people (Kurds)," he said. "Only after that there is a chance that they would select other methods to attain their rights."
Reports said more than half of Turks believe that the PKK does not represent Kurds in the country and even more are leaning toward a peaceful solution.
"The organization has gained a lot momentum within the last couple of years and became a global threat," remarked Mete Yarar, a prominent security expert.
In Yarar's view, behind the PKK are "sponsoring countries" lending support to it, and the support mostly "comes directly from the NATO and EU countries."
"With the high morale PKK receives from the West, it involves in more and more terrorist attacks," he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday also criticized EU countries for backing the PKK, as the group's supporters were allowed to pitch tents behind the European Council building in Brussels prior to a EU-Turkey summit held the same day over a deal to stem the flow of migrants into EU countries via Turkey.
Yarar argued that the entire region has become a "very convenient location" providing the PKK with easy access to heavy weaponry, training camps and potential recruits.
"PKK now has the opportunity to recruit more and more militants from a larger geography not limited to Turkey but also from Syria, Iraq and Iran as well," he added, as the three countries have a Kurdish population as well.
Ismail Hakki Pekin, a retired general and former director of the intelligence department of Turkish Joint Chief of Staff, told Xinhua that the instability expanding in Turkey is exactly a situation sought by "foreign powers" including the United States and EU countries.
In his view, the foreign powers intend to force the Turkish government to start negotiations with the PKK by taking advantage of the chaos.
He argued that Turkey should definitely change its entire Middle East policy and choose to closely cooperate with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia.
"Then it should (be able to help) clean the country from all kinds of terrorist elements including the radical Islamist organizations," remarked Pekin.
ISTANBUL, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused European countries of backing the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) outlawed by Turkey.
In a televised speech marking the 101st anniversary of the Gallipoli Battle in Turkey's western city of Canakkale, the president criticized Belgium for allowing PKK supporters to pitch tents behind the European Council building in Brussels prior to a summit between the European Union and Turkey.Full Story
ANKARA, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said Turkey will strongly fight against terrorism.
Speaking during a joint press conference with visiting Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at the Presidential Palace in the Turkish capital Ankara, Erdogan again strongly condemned Sunday's Ankara bomb attack, calling it an attack on every Turkish citizen.Full Story
ANKARA, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) on Thursday claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed 37 on Sunday.
The group, which is linked to the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), said the Ankara attack was a "vengeful action" for Turkish government operations against PKK targets in mainly Kurdish southeast that has been going on since July.Full Story