Why Terrorists Attack Turkey More Than Any Other Nation

by Amna El Tawil
 
Terrorists targeted multiple locations across the world in 2016 taking hundreds of innocent lives. I remember countless occasions checking the news to see what’s going on in the world only to see headlines about horrendous events that take away one’s trust in humanity. You always wonder how some human being can do these horrific things to another person? While these attacks were carried out in different countries and cities, Turkey was the most common target. It’s sad that mainstream media paid little to no attention to terrorism that strikes Turkey so frequently. During awful times like these, the last thing we need is to differentiate victims and acting like someone’s death is more important than someone else’s from a different country. Since terrorism affects Turkey so frequently, one has to wonder – why do terrorists, which usually come from Islamic State, attack Turkey when it’s a primarily Muslim nation?
 
The very first scenes from 2017 were coming from Turkey when about 39 people were killed and dozens wounded as they were partying on New Year’s Eve in Istanbul hotspot Reina. The New York Times reported: “Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu called it an act of terrorism and said the gunman was still being sought early Sunday.
 
Sixteen of the people killed were foreigners, the Foreign Ministry said; it was not clear if any were Americans. At least 69 people were being treated at hospitals, Mr. Soylu said.” As you already know, ISIS took responsibility for this act of terror!
 
Turkey has significant problems with security and they existed even before the failed coup in summer 2016. Let’s also not forget that on December 19, 2016, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey G. Karlov, was assassinated when he was delivering a speech during art exhibit. Mr. Erdogan, the Turkish president, also proclaimed the assassination as a terroristic act. This poses as one of the most politically significant attacks in Turkey’s escalating violence.
 
Since 2015, more than 400 people died in major attacks throughout the country. The New York Times also reports that “Kurdish militants, who have been in armed conflict with the Turkish government for decades, attack security forces in southeastern Turkey almost daily, and are increasingly shifting to assaults in urban areas.
 
On Dec. 10, a double bombing outside a soccer stadium in the heart of Istanbul killed 39 people and wounded 154. A week later, a car bombing in Kayseri, in central Turkey, targeted a bus carrying soldiers on weekend leave, killing 13 and wounding dozens more. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons considered an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, claimed responsibility for the two recent attacks.
 
While the Kurdish attacks have mainly targeted the police and members of the military, the Islamic State attacks have mostly struck at civilians in popular places.
 
The violence, along with Turkey’s own political instability, has severely affected tourism and the economy.”

Terrorists targeted multiple locations across the world in 2016 taking hundreds of innocent lives. I remember countless occasions checking the news to see what’s going on in the world only to see headlines about horrendous events that take away one’s trust in humanity. You always wonder how some human being can do these horrific things to another person? While these attacks were carried out in different countries and cities, Turkey was the most common target. It’s sad that mainstream media paid little to no attention to terrorism that strikes Turkey so frequently. During awful times like these, the last thing we need is to differentiate victims and acting like someone’s death is more important than someone else’s from a different country. Since terrorism affects Turkey so frequently, one has to wonder – why do terrorists, which usually come from Islamic State, attack Turkey when it’s a primarily Muslim nation?
 
The very first scenes from 2017 were coming from Turkey when about 39 people were killed and dozens wounded as they were partying on New Year’s Eve in Istanbul hotspot Reina. The New York Times reported: “Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu called it an act of terrorism and said the gunman was still being sought early Sunday.
 
Sixteen of the people killed were foreigners, the Foreign Ministry said; it was not clear if any were Americans. At least 69 people were being treated at hospitals, Mr. Soylu said.” As you already know, ISIS took responsibility for this act of terror!
 
Turkey has significant problems with security and they existed even before the failed coup in summer 2016. Let’s also not forget that on December 19, 2016, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey G. Karlov, was assassinated when he was delivering a speech during art exhibit. Mr. Erdogan, the Turkish president, also proclaimed the assassination as a terroristic act. This poses as one of the most politically significant attacks in Turkey’s escalating violence.
 
Since 2015, more than 400 people died in major attacks throughout the country. The New York Times also reports that “Kurdish militants, who have been in armed conflict with the Turkish government for decades, attack security forces in southeastern Turkey almost daily, and are increasingly shifting to assaults in urban areas.
 
On Dec. 10, a double bombing outside a soccer stadium in the heart of Istanbul killed 39 people and wounded 154. A week later, a car bombing in Kayseri, in central Turkey, targeted a bus carrying soldiers on weekend leave, killing 13 and wounding dozens more. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons considered an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, claimed responsibility for the two recent attacks.
 
While the Kurdish attacks have mainly targeted the police and members of the military, the Islamic State attacks have mostly struck at civilians in popular places.
 
The violence, along with Turkey’s own political instability, has severely affected tourism and the economy.”

Kurdish insurgency
 
Turkey’s role in the Syrian war has been complicated by its own battle with an insurgency waged by the Kurdish ethnic group living across eastern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The government in Turkey firmly believes that Kurdish militants fighting ISIS are an extension of PKK or Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The party has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy since the 1970s.
 
Turkey’s efforts to fight Kurdish forces in Syria puts it, directly, in conflict with both Russian-backed Assad regime and the US-allied Kurdish fighters. This also explains the complicated Erdogan – Putin relationship. Kurdish leaders say this places Turkey on the same side as ISIS in the conflict, which is why besides Islamic State, Kurdish perpetrators account for about the half of terrorist attacks in this country.
 
ISIS, of course
 
Besides Kurds, a majority of acts of terrorism are conducted by ISIS followers. Why is ISIS attacking Turkey? Ömer Ta?p?nar, a senior fellow and Turkey expert at the Brookings Institution, a research center in Washington, DC, says Turkey’s pro-Western attitude and its cooperation in counterterrorism strategies with the US against ISIS are a major reason for why Turkey is an ISIS target. He says: “Most of the American airplanes bombing ISIS are flying from military bases in Turkey. The more you fight ISIS, the higher the risk of retaliation, because Turkey is right at the border. Turkey is not Belgium, it’s not France. It doesn’t have a huge buffer with Syria.” Ta?p?nar also blames the fact that Erdogan failed to make peace with the PKK, focused on Kurdish groups without even anticipating the even bigger threat.
 
Geopolitics
 
Turkey is the buffer zone between Europe and the Middle East. It’s the bridge that connects two continents, two different worlds, and different governments, politics styles, and so on. This position allowed the Ottoman Empire back in time to conquer many territories and become one of the greatest powers in the world. Also, Turkey’s location is a reason behind the complicated foreign policy. Making amends with one country means risking fallouts with some other nation. When this happens, Turkey is the one in an unfavorable position. For example, a suicide bomb and gun attack at Istanbul airport that killed about 41 people happened just a few days after Turkey announced a normalizing relationship with Israel. CNN reported: “Israel and Turkey have reached a deal to normalize diplomatic relations, six years after an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla left eight Turks and an American citizen of Turkish origin dead.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced that the deal includes a $20 million compensation fund for Turkish families, an eventual return of ambassadors and initial talks on a possible natural gas pipeline. Under the deal, Turkey will end all criminal or civil claims against Israeli military personnel and the State of Israel following the 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla that left nine people dead, Netanyahu said at a press conference in Rome where officials hammered out the agreement.”
 
Erdogan also worked to repair the broken relationship with Putin by sending a letter of apology over a Russian warplane that Turkey shot down near the country’s border with Syria. Also, Turkey has recently carried out arrests and raids targeting ISIS at the border with Syria, which could have sparked retaliation.
 
Further commentary: Terrorist attacks striking Turkey are taking hundreds of lives and it’s highly unlikely they’ll slow down this year. Reasons behind these attacks are numerous but primarily rooted in a complicated relationship with other countries from the region and its own long-standing fight versus Kurdish groups. Since Turkey is the door to Europe, it becomes crystal clear why ISIS make it its target of choice. The saddest thing is; innocent people lose their lives tragically, regardless of their religion, color of their skin, political views.
 
 

Related Posts:

We truly are under attack. We need user support now more than ever! For as little as $10, you can support the IWB directly – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. 789 views
Related Posts: