World View: Philippines Reinforces Grounded Ship to Challenge China in South China Sea


This morning’s key headlines from

  • Kurds blame Erdogan for ISIS terrorist attack in southeastern Turkey
  • Philippines reinforces grounded ship to challenge China in South China Sea

Kurds blame Erdogan for ISIS terrorist attack in southeastern Turkey

Anti-Erdogan demonstrators in Taksim Square in Istanbul on Monday (Reuters)
Anti-Erdogan demonstrators in Taksim Square in Istanbul on Monday (Reuters)

A massive terrorist explosion in southeastern Turkey on Friday killed 31 and wounded hundreds. It is believed that it was triggered by an 18-year-old female suicide bomber.

It occurred in the town of Suruc, which is on the border with Syria, just across the border to the Syrian town of Kobani.

In January, Kurdish militias scored a major victory over the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) by driving all ISIS forces out of Kobani.

Because of the importance of Kobani, ISIS has been trying to retake the town since then. A month ago, ISIS killed dozens of Kurds, mostly civilians, in a brutal attack on Kobani. The ISIS militants disguised themselves in Kurdish YPG uniforms, so they were undetected, until they opened fire. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused by some opposition politicians, especially from the opposition pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), of hating the Kurds and of helping ISIS launch the attack agains the Kurds in Kobani. Erdogan was outraged, and said that HDP politicians “are carrying out a slander and black propaganda campaign in the wake of this nefarious attack.”

Friday’s bomb attack in Suruc targeted a large meeting of pro-Kurdish activists who were discussing plans to help rebuild the town of Kobani. They had been chanting slogans and were holding a large banner with the words “We defended it together, we are building it together,” when the suicide bomber exploded her load.

HDP party politicians condemned Erdogan for not taking enough steps to prevent terrorism on Turkish soil. On Monday, there were demonstrations in Istanbul by protesters who blamed the government for the ISIS suicide bombing. Some activists chanted slogans against Erdogan and the ruling AK Party, including: “Murderer ISIS, collaborator Erdogan and AKP.” Police in Istanbul fired teargas and water cannon when the demonstration turned violent. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Zaman (Istanbul) and Daily Mail (London)

Philippines reinforces grounded ship to challenge China in South China Sea

With China building illegal artificial islands in the South China Sea, the Philippines government is retaliating by reinforcing a naval vessel, the BRP Sierra Madre, that was beached on Second Thomas Shoal in 1999. In order to challenge China’s claims of sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, including regions that had belonged to other countries for centuries, the Philippines government has kept the beached ship staffed with a small group of marines.

This has gone on for years, and has infuriated the Chinese. There are at least China coast guard cutters nearby constantly, to interdict any resupply attempts to the ship. Any supplies or replacement personnel can arrive only by running past China’s blockade.

For years, the beached ship has kept a low profile, but in view of China’s increasingly aggressive and hostile moves, the Philippines government is beginning to provide more “maintenance” to the vessel, with cement, welding tools and other reinforcing materials brought past the Chinese blockade.

China’s foreign ministry accused the Philippines of illegal activities, repeating that the entire South China Sea is China’s sovereign territory:

China strongly protests and firmly opposes such an act…

The relevant activity fully exposed the Philippines’ hypocrisy and that it is a double dealer. It once again proved that the Philippines is truly a troublemaker and rule-breaker in the region.

The Philippine government is also restoring the former US naval facility in Subic Bay to be a full-fledged military base, for the first time since the US Navy was thrown out from the base. The Philippines will station new fighter jets and two frigates early next year. US Naval Institute and AFP and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kurds, Suruc, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Syria, Kobani, People’s Democratic Party, HDP, Philippines, China, South China Sea, BRP Sierra Madre, Second Thomas Shoal, Subic Bay
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