Turkish Shooter in Utrecht Attack Linked to Erdogan?

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Police and rescuers at work,on March 18, 2019 in Utrecht near a tram where a Turkish gunman opened fire killing at three persons and wounding six (Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Police and rescuers at work on March 18, 2019 in Utrecht near a tram where a Turkish gunman opened fire killing three people and wounding six (Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish shooter Gokmen Tanis, responsible for the attack in the Netherlands which left three dead and five wounded, is now in custody. On May 18, 2019, Tanis staged a shooting on a tram in the city of Utrecht. Dutch and Turkish authorities are investigating to determine whether the attack was a family dispute or whether it was a terror attack.

Police are also considering the possibility that the Turkish shooter was retaliating against the mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand which occurred just days ago.

Regarding that attack, the rhetoric spouted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip has been incendiary. Erdogan warned that challengers would be sent back “in caskets,” adding further,

“They are testing us from 16,500 km away, from New Zealand, with the messages they are giving from there. This isn’t an individual act, this is organized.”

The Utrecht attack escalates the tension Turkey already has had with the Netherlands for the past few years. In the spring of 2017, diplomatic conflict resulted in Denmark canceling a Turkish delegation to the Netherlands. The rebuke was a result of Turkish expat communities in the Netherlands engaging in widening pro-government (i.e., pro-Erdogan) rallies. The diplomatic row escalated to the point where Erdogan retorted in a speech that “Nazism is alive in the West.



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Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.

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