A Turkish national whistleblower known on Twitter only under the alias Fuat Avni is claiming that the Suruç suicide bombing attributed to the Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS) was planned by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to allow for military action against Kurds. While the account is anonymous and provides no corroborating evidence, it has sufficient following to provoke a loud national response.
Fuat Avni, who boasts 1.47 million followers on Twitter, is reportedly related to the movement supporting former Erdogan ally and current archnemesis Fethullah Gulen, who resides in exile in the United States. Avni has made the incendiary claim that the bombing was planned in a meeting of senior Turkish government officials. He claims a meeting between the President, his advisers, “National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and former Interior Minister Efkan Ala” concluded in a decision to carry out the bombing.
“For ISIL to strike Turkey, when Yezid [Erdoğan] and his gang are their biggest supporters, is nonsensical. Both Suruç and Kilis were Yezid’s decision, not ISIL’s,” Avni writes. “What coincidence that those who said they’d send four people to Syria and fire eight rockets at Turkey to start a war were also at the meeting.” He adds that “the [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] ISIL cells under the control of Fidan’s shady team were finally put into action in Suruç,” directly implicating the intelligence chief.
The bombing of Suruç, a town on the border of Syria across from the much-conflicted Kurdish town of Kobani, killed 31 and left 100 injured, mostly Kurds who had organized to travel to Kobani and help rebuild after the occupation of the Islamic State. Turkish officials have blamed the Islamic State for the bombing and began an airstrike campaign against the group in Syria, while also heavily targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Marxist terrorist group. Kurdish supporters have protested that the Turkish government is targeting them while letting the Islamic State blossom.
While Avni is widely followed, he has been incorrect in the past, predicting mass journalist arrests that never happened and the seizure of the Hurriyet newspaper, which remains fully operational. He was widely reported in February to be Emre Uslu, a former politician and current columnist in Turkey. Uslu said of the accusations then, “If I am Fuat Avni or if I have ever used Fuat Avni’s account, let God damn and perish me.”
He is not the only one blaming Erdogan for the attack, however. Selahattin Demirtas, the head of the left-wing and pro-Kurdish HDP, claimed the bombing had been orchestrated by “gladio,” described by Hurriyet as “a deep state organization that was directly linked to the presidential palace and thus Erdoğan himself.” Erdogan responded to Demirtas by calling his statements “vulgar.” He stated, “I want to express that the presidency is a very high position and should not to be dishonored like this.” Other reports claim not that Erdogan planned the attacks, but that the Islamic State gave the Turkish government advanced warning.