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Cablegate: Bombings Target Nondescript Istanbul Neighborhood

VZCZCXRO7539
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHIT #0395 2101116
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281116Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8339
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000395

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC
SUBJECT: BOMBINGS TARGET NONDESCRIPT ISTANBUL NEIGHBORHOOD

REF: 07/28/08 RSO SPOT REPORT

1. Two bombs exploded within minutes of each other on the
night of July 27 killing at least 17 people and wounding more
than 150 (see ref) in the Istanbul residential neighborhood
of Gungoren. Gungoren is a lower-middle-class to
middle-class neighborhood in Istanbul's western suburbs
virtually indistinguishable from other nearby neighborhoods.

2. Like much of the city, Gungoren underwent rapid
development due to urban migration in the 1950s and 60s,
transforming what was once a largely industrial area into a
residential district. Today, 271,000 people live in the six-
to seven-story apartment buildings that line the
neighborhood's narrow streets, making the area moderately
crowded by Istanbul standards. With the exception of the
international airport, there is little in any of Istanbul's
western suburbs, including Gungoren, that would attract
tourists.

3. Neither Gungoren nor its surrounding districts have a
considerable Kurdish population. Media reports indicate some
of the culprits from the 2003 Istanbul bombings came from the
nearby neighborhood of Bagcilar. The three gunmen who
attacked the Consulate General on July 9 lived in
Kucukcekmece, a neighborhood further to the west beyond the
airport. In December 2007, Kucukcekmece was the site of a
series of arson attacks on parked cars. Both Bagcilar and
Kucukcekmece are poorer than Gungoren. Politically Gungoren
is dominated by the AKP and CHP. The parties received 50 and
30.5 percent of the vote respectively in the 2007
parliamentary elections.

4. The Turkish National Police have not speculated on the
identity or affiliation of the bombers. Press speculation
however is rife, with most commentators at a loss to explain
why terrorists would target a neighborhood as nondescript as
Gungoren.
OUDKIRK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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