The attack against the convoy of the main opposition party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Thursday was a painful reminder of how exposed and fragile Turkey has become.
Mr. Kilicdaroglu escaped injury after his convoy came under fire in the northeastern Black Sea province of Artvin, but a soldier was killed and two others were injured.
Leader of the Republican People’s Party was calm and dignified after he narrowly missed being assassinated. He refused to cancel his programme.
All major parties have condemned the attack; there was an outpouring of anger but the already tense mood in the country has darkened even further.
Within minutes of the attack, Interior Minister Efkan Ala blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK.
Mr. Kilicdaroglu, himself, was more cautious. He referred to a terrorist act by an unspecified power, targeting Turkey’s democracy and stability.
As usual in Turkey, there was much speculation about the nature of the attack and whether the convoy was the real target or it simply got caught in a random cross-fire.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s written statement did not point the finger at any particular group, but made it clear that it was an assassination attempt directed at the leader of the main opposition.
Leading members of the Republican People’s Party seem to have no doubt that the target was their leader and the aim of the attack was to drag Turkey into an internal strife.
So far, nobody has claimed responsibility. There was no immediate response by the PKK to the Interior Minister’s accusations.
In the light of its ongoing military intervention in Syria, Turkey is more than exposed and vulnerable to both ISIS and the Kurdish insurgency. Still reeling from the effects of the July 15 coup attempt, the threat of further attacks by those responsible for the upheaval continue to be felt, too.
We may eventually find out who really was behind this latest and potentially destabilizing attempt. It is also possible that it will be added to the countless unsolved incidents and crimes.
Turkey has managed to avert yet another tragedy but paradoxically, the unsuccessful assassination attempt on its opposition leader and the cool-headed response by Mr. Kilicdaroglu and others have reminded us just how resilient Turkey really could be.
This post is also available in: Turkish